Dumb leaders
- Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2013 - 12:00am

Have you ever been demeaned, insulted, offended and made to feel so insignificant by a boss of yours who behaves more like a jerk rather than a leader? If your answer is “Yes”, then you’re not alone.

You can face challenges. You can face adversities. But when you have to face and report to dumb leaders, it’s like hell on earth every day.

They can wear you down. They can make you sick. They can even drive you to a point wherein you’d question yourself, “What am I doing? It’s not even worth it!”, and leave the workplace to discover that there’s a world out there which is so much better because you don’t have to report to Satan himself (or herself)! That the devil doesn’t wear Prada; he or she wears your company uniform!

Dumb leaders abound, I can assure you that. They’re not intellectually challenged, but because they’re extremely insecure, they cost the company big time!

How do leaders end up as “dumb leaders”? Well, let me count the ways.

• Dumb leaders, rather than devoting their time and attention to developing themselves and others, devote themselves to protecting their turf. They trust no one because they themselves are not trustworthy.

• Dumb leaders are threatened by their underlings who they perceive as better and more qualified. They want to be surrounded by less competent people. While business owners spend a fortune getting the services of the country’s top headhunters to woo, entice and attract the best talents to join their company, dumb leaders do their best to suppress those talents from giving a stellar performance.

• Dumb leaders want to look good. They surround themselves with people who are passive and submissive so they’d become their sun, moon and stars. That’s how much they crave attention.

• Dumb leaders want every email to have their names in the “Cc” (carbon copy) section. They want every piece of communication and every proposal to bear their name. It’s important to their “personal branding”.

• Dumb leaders want to “contribute”. Even when a proposal has already been checked, rechecked and double-checked, they still insist on looking it over. Then they change some miniscule, unimportant portion of the proposal just so it’ll be said that they had the final authority and imprimatur over the proposal.

• Dumb leaders consider it a mortal sin for their underlings to communicate directly with other bosses, especially theirs. This is an act of betrayal! Every single piece of information and communication should be cleared by them first.

• Dumb leaders are experts in blame-storming. When something wrong happens, guess what dumb leaders do? They point fingers. They don’t care about the consequence of good people leaving, as long as their backs are covered. In fact, they’re delighted when good people leave, because the “competition” is reduced and the threat, lessened.

• Dumb leaders are jerks who grab credit and never share credit. They manipulate, scheme, and use underhanded means and machinations to get what they want.

• Dumb leaders’ style of leadership is always dictatorial, authoritative and just plain selfish. You’ll never hear these jerks give credit or compliments; they want to have them, but they’ll never give them. They suck up to their boss and even use “showbiz”-type intrigues to earn their boss’s trust.

• Dumb leaders micro-manage not because they’re concerned, but because they fear that some vital piece of information may escape their attention, and credit may be given to someone else. When the latter does happen, they’ll do everything they can to get back at the person responsible for keeping them out of the loop.

• Dumb leader’s favorite expression: “Why was I bypassed?”

Dumb leaders are people who become insular. They focus on self-service rather than servicing others. They consume more than they produce. They become insulated and separated.

Dumb leaders create an atmosphere wherein the best work done by their people will only be compliance. Creativity is foreign to them. Dumb leaders make the people who decide to play their game dumb and dumber.

The harm isn’t just that dumb leaders drive good people and talents away, and send them to the competitor. The real damage is that these jerks eventually leave when they self-destruct. And the implosion that drives the jerks away leaves a vacuum that cause a great deal of damage and cost to the company. The cost can’t be quantified just by numbers, but it’ll cost the company, believe me.

Are there dumb leaders in your business organization? If your answer is in the affirmative, you better take initiative and deal with the issue. Train these leaders to serve and not to lord it over everyone. Remind them that there are two kinds of customers, and they sure are being lousy dealing with the internal ones.

I’ve a confession to make. I used to play the same game too, and this is why I could recognize such leaders a mile away – until I realized that this narcissistic and Machiavellian style isn’t sustainable, and that it destroys rather than build lives.

There’s hope for those who want to change. Sometimes, they just need a push from the people above to help them change.

Don’t allow dumb leaders to prevent your business or organization from realizing its full business potential. Train them, encourage them, memo them if you must, but never tolerate their bad behavior. If you don’t do anything, that’s what will cost you big time!

(Develop your leadership skills and spend two whole days with Francis Kong as he facilitates the well-acclaimed Dr. John C. Maxwell Program “Developing The Leader Within You” on April 25-26 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries, contact Lylee at 09175482876, or call 632-6310912 for details.)


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