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CPR Moral & Ethical Leadership series: Ineffective Leadership

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Monday's post-CPR identified fifteen attributes that sabotage a small business if not addressed. CPR highlighted ineffective leadership as the number one sabotage to a small business. Today's post considers fifteen attributes of ineffective leadership offered by Success (2017). Go to CPR's Moral Leadership Coaching tidbit #2 at to determine how to reverse attributes sabotaging your business (i.e., a threat).

1. Lack of Transparency

There’s rarely a reason not to be entirely transparent with your team, especially at a young, growing company. A lack of transparency can result in a lack of trust.

2. Not Listening

Listening to all employees as often as possible is essential to building a loyal and faithful team. Everyone needs to be part of the process and the bigger picture.

3. Dismissing Ideas Other Than Your Own

I didn’t realize how toxic this behavior was until it was pointed out to me. Your employees should never feel like they’re pitching you in a way that makes you (as the CEO) think you’re spinning the gold. Understanding a good idea, helping to develop it, and providing strong praise and credit where due is incredibly important.

4. Valuing Experience Over Potential

CEOs should be careful not to value experience over potential. Some of our best employees haven’t been the most experienced. What they do have is impossible to train or develop—it’s a fire in their bellies to deliver world-class products to our clients. You can’t teach that.

5. Ego

The best leaders accept blame when things go wrong and give credit to their team when things go right. To be a true visionary leader, you need to let go of your ego and focus on your people because you would be nowhere without them.

6. Working 24/7

I asked a fellow entrepreneur about his weekend plans a few weeks ago. I understand the ownership and passion that comes with running a business, but you have to set an example for your team, have other interests and learn how to take a break.

7. Lack of Empathy

Leaders must understand the problems their team faces and then begin doing anything to remove barriers to entry so their team can do the best job possible. In my experience, these barriers include a lack of resources, a lack of direction, and a lack of culture.

Adam Root, Hiplogiq

8. Forgetting About Leadership Development

Educating and creating a growth plan for your employees is one of the things that should never be ignored but often slips through the cracks. A growth and education path increases employee retention and creates a more innovative and hungrier team. If you think about it in reverse, can you afford for your team not to learn or grow? Imagine if your marketing team did the same things they are now in four or five years.

Sujan Patel, When I Work

9. Being Overly Conservative

Modern leaders must be tenacious in getting the desired results—from themselves, their organization, their team, and even their customers. Get rid of overly conservative notions. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. If you don’t take that risk, you’ll never know what that opportunity would be. You’ll never have to say “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.” Use your guts, and in my experience and the end, everything works out well.—Scott Petinga, The Scott Petinga Group

10. Permitting Negative Gossip

Spreading negative gossip about others signals that being around that person is not safe. Trust is immediately shattered, and people fear that what they say may be shared behind their backs. Leaders who either gossip or don’t take measures to eradicate it are harming more than just company morale. They are impeding the flow of honest feedback and communication throughout the organization.—David Hassell, 15Five

CEOs tend to map out ideas in their heads but don’t share the process. Then, when the team starts making suggestions that you’ve already eliminated through thoughtful internal deliberation, they get angry. But no one knows you’ve already done that—so both sides get frustrated. My co-founder would tell me this all the time, so I started writing ideas and plans out to make sure my process and conclusion were easy to understand.—Benish Shah, Before the Label

12. Closed-Mindedness

A CEO must be open-minded and listen to feedback and ideas from others. Being closed-minded and unwilling to change your perspective will cause issues with your employees and your business's success. —Josh Weiss, Bluegala

13. Assigning Blame

Take responsibility for any of your team’s failures. You ultimately hold all the responsibility anyway, so let your team know you understand that things didn’t work out the way they should. Then propose solutions instead of assigning blame. —Lane Campbell, Syntress CDT

14. Inconsistency

I have often been blamed for sounding like a broken record, but it is a record that my staff, clients, and vendors know and can count on. Too often, I see inconsistent CEOs who change their minds, leading to confusion and mixed signals among everyone around them. Sticking to your guns and accepting fate (even if it’s terrible!) will lead to opportunities to continue learning while building trust in others.—Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

15. Being Too Slow to Adapt

Successful startups proliferate. CEOs who fail to keep up risk being clueless, close-minded, and arrogant. A lack of knowledge leads to indecision and fear and can cause employees to lose trust in their leader quickly.

The above attributes summarized attributes of an ineffective leader. As part of the CPR Moral Leadership series, it is important to highlight what works and, in this case, poor habits that must be discarded from our everyday business operations. Please join CPR on its quest to construct Moral Leaders, one small business leader at a time. With this partnership, there are only win-win solutions.

Warm Regards,


36 views3 comments


Donald Warren
Donald Warren
Jan 11, 2023

Thanks for the interesting article! Our company software will help you find the right impulses to build productive working relationships within your company.

May 10, 2023
Replying to

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