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Selfish Leaders–Are you one?

Think back to when you had a great idea that was either ignored or stolen by someone more senior. You probably said to yourself, “Wait until I’m in charge, then I can implement my ideas.” You might have been angry enough to decide not to trust your supervisor with further ideas or to retaliate by not working as hard as you had before.

You’re not alone if you had one of these “Just you wait!” stories. The world is full of selfish leaders who prey upon the goodwill of their employees. The question is…years later, are you now one of them?

Dan Rockwell at The Leadership Freak recently published a list of ways to identify selfish leaders. Here is his list:


10 ways to spot Selfish Leaders:

  1. They evaluate you but you don’t evaluate them.
  2. Jabs and sarcasm that convey honest opinions in cowardly ways.
  3. Speaking for subordinates in meetings rather than inviting them to speak for themselves.
  4. Suggestion boxes rather than honest conversations.
  5. Focusing more on performance than on the person.
  6. Anxiety concerning giving and receiving credit.
  7. They talk most and listen least.
  8. Withdrawal.
  9. Manipulation.
  10. Elitism.

Are you guilty of any of these characteristics? If so, which ones?

Great work environments are built on trust, so it’s important to locate where you’re being selfish and what you can do to rectify it. Look for ways, in particular, for how you can better receive and respond to feedback. Otherwise, some of your junior leaders may decide not to share their best ideas with you or retaliate in other ways.

As a leader, how might you be more selfless?

About the Author

Calvin has nearly three decades of executive and leadership experience. He is a former Air Force officer where he directed the Air Force Oil Analysis Program, the B-1 Bomber flight simulator modification program, and the design and integration of the Advanced Cruise Missile Variant. His executive leadership includes Director of the Rochester Merrill Lynch office and Vice President of Investment Services at Think Mutual Bank. Calvin Guyer Full Bio

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