Creative Leadership

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 worked with one time who was arrogant, always late for meetings, and extremely impressed with himself. We had a conference call once 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…


Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

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  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. One goal of the greatest leaders is to do permanent ego damage to themselves.  Then their underlings learn to do the same.  Christ actually taught this:  Why do you call me good?  None are good but the Father.  He was teaching humility, but those impressed with themselves will not follow Christ.  Humility always wins in the end.  Pride always loses in the end.  Prideful people are the world's biggest losers, because they richly earn their hell, the place of all lies.  Humble people are the world's biggest winners, because they get what they deserve, a good heaven, the place of all truth.

  5. Remember, pride, power, and an attitude of not admitting fault or direction often blinds the person.  The Lord said to the Teachers of the Law in his time… because you say you see, your sin remains in you (paraphrasing from memory).  We should watch ourselves and ask God to open our eyes to our own pride and sin (kind of being aware of our own underarm odor after a day of not showering) in order to keep us humble and thus do a good job for Him.  Wouldn't you like to hear one day… Well done you faithful servant…?

  6. Did you just put a toilet on your blog…….I Love it. In fact, I had this vision about 6 months ago and branded my vblogs as " On the Throne with Dave Jones". LOL!!! Check it out

     Anyway, I think I know this ministry leader that you are talking about.. When we personally met with him he was 45 minutes late, with about 25 people waiting for him. I remember thinking about how much money in payroll was being misused because of people sitting around doing nothing but waiting. It blew my mind!!! And I know most of the room was making more than $50,000 a year. Anyway severe inefficiancies, and lack of accountability plagues the ministry, is this really new?

    I think if we were to hold more people accountable to budgets, media planning, spending, vision casting and goal setting we would have more people accountable, and possibly fired from their current positions, however the leaders set the pace.


  7. Unfortunate truth that "leadership is a double edged sword". The most misfortunate, however, is a "yes" mentality where bad leadership is accepted because the alternative is being fired for speaking out. I've met many CEOs and the best of the best are humble, , respectful, and cognizant that they stand on the shoulders of their workers, see themselves as "servant leaders" rather than a leader of servants.

    For any CEO that sees himself as indispensable, take a day off, the company will survive. Then give all employees the day off… see what poop happens!

  8. 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

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