One bad leader can poison an organization. Have you seen the destructive behaviors listed below?
Here are some of the "bad leader" traits that I have witnessed.
Destructive leaders often...
treat people as things or objects
rarely arouse, engage or inspire
aren't good at fixing problems, but excel at assigning blame
are great delegators, but don't like to follow-up
don't trust people that aren't in their close knit group (sometimes their close knit group is them)
believe in a sense of order, as long as they define the order
are greedy (more power, success, money)
believe people are easily expendable (they often have a history of failed personal relationships, marriages, business relationships, etc.)
don't have many (if any) true friends and close business relationships
aren't trustworthy and don't usually trust others
don't possess a common code of decency that others can easily recognize
consistently put their needs above those of their followers
aren't satisfied with what they have (jealousy and envy often drive their behavior)
take advantage of others in a way that can be personally destructive
usually can't create or implement lasting beneficial change due to non-involvement, personal courage, and conviction
are unwilling to have a personal stake in outcomes
often have personalities traits that are out of sync with mainstream thinking (this can also be a positive leadership trait)
often possess an uncanny ability to have both a blind eye and a deaf ear when dealing with others
take personal credit for group accomplishments or the accomplishments of others
are deceptive or intellectually dishonest. They muddy the truth with distorted language or they change the subject to attack your beliefs
rarely give public praise to another
aren't specific or can't be pinned down regarding their position
often leave others asking them to clarify their remarks or explain their position (often a hopeless cause)
love to communicate via e-mail to avoid facing others
often don't understand that the big picture is sometimes just one of the snapshots
use politics to gain power in a way that is unethical, unnecessary, and unwelcome
are self-centered vs. organization centered
often leave their followers "hung out to dry"
say one thing while actively planning to do something different
are poor role models
often make important decisions based upon sketchy information, emotion, or something out of the latest trade journal
believe they are smarter than everybody else
don't like to debate or participate in brainstorming sessions (this is beneath them)
are as transparent as a sheet of glass
Be careful when dealing with these people. Many of them have great power and aren't afraid to use it. Remember, when dealing with them to put personal feelings aside and treat them as you would want to be treated. Bad leaders are inevitable, however we often have to work with them, and we often need their help.
Remember the Golden Rule!