Leadership: The Crap Trickles Down Too

People are quick to point out that leaders are role models, and that employees or team members pick up great leadership traits from the top man or woman.  But the uncomfortable truth is, they also pick up bad habits as well.  There’s a CEO that we’ve worked with from time who time who’s arrogant, always late for meetings, and extremely impressed with himself.  We had a conference call recently with
one of his subordinates, and guess what?  His employee was 15 minutes late for the call, never made an apology, acted arrogant, and was pretty impressed with himself.

Leaders – be aware of the impact – good and bad – that you have on employees and subordinates.  And everyone else – make sure the traits you model from your leader are positive and transcend the workplace.  Otherwise, the poop will just continue to roll downhill…


Related Articles


  1. These kinds of leaders also create another path in their organizations often missed by the employees. I call it "Loyalty running uphill", typically it doesn't run back down. They want you to think you are a vital part of the workforce. You strive hard to impress and are surprised to find out how little leadership really cares about you or your needs. The church is excellent at this practice.

    Being late for anything just because you can be is an early indicator of how much you care about others and their time. Regardless if you are the leader or the follower – be on time.

    Look at the fruits produced by the leaders. The proof is in the pudding as they say. If the fruit stinks run the other way. Life's too short to be around stinky people!

  2. Excellent comment and very true, especially in organizations where they worship their leaders and there is little accountability. I once read an terrific book about “Followership.” How to be a good follower. I tried to exhibit that at a previous employer and it’s  probably one reason I left. You try to help leadership see the broader perspective when their vision narrows. Hopefully, they will respect your view and face reality. If you are not being heard, you have a decision to make. Can you remain and make a difference? If not, it’s time to move on. Sometimes the old saying holds true…"the fish stinks from the head."

  3. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, than proximity breeds contempt. 

    I've had the unique experience first working for version 2.0 of a boss, and then transitioning to his source and experiencing the original.

    My take is that while 2.0 had the glitz, glamour and new features designed to directly answer the perceived lack of the first version, he didn't have all the bugs worked out either. My tenure with version 1.4.3 (or so) has taught me to expect the shortcomings. I can hope Ma change everyday, do what I can to promote it, but I try not to be disappointed when it doesn't arrive.

    At both ministries, I've learned more of what not to do than the opposite. If only the organizations would do the same. When learning the hard way isn't good enough, both versions seem to learn the hardest way imaginable.


  4. George – Great insight and and comment.  I heard a teaching when I was 17 that always stayed with me through my career(s). It was based upon the words of Jesus, Luke 16:12 "If you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?"  The call for the servant (follower) was to "be faithful" — the challenge of practicing that principle has always been to discern when "faithfulness" required radical and sometimes confrontational truth and sometimes simply walking away in love.

    Appreciate the model of life and ministry I have observed in you, Phil, and a few others through the years. Blessings, Lynwood

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker