Leadership how to be an awful leader

Leadership, Motivation and Pushmi-Pullyus

Leadership and how to become a better leader.


Do you remember the pushmi-pullyu?

(pronounced "push-me—pull-you")


If you don’t let me remind you, it’s a character from Doctor Dolittle and is half gazelle and half unicorn. It’s defining characteristic is the fact it has two heads. There is one on each end and it will use one to talk, and  the other for eating (thus permitting eating while speaking without being rude!)

Now you might be wondering why I should reference a children’s classic but there’s a reason. How many of your team would pull for you? How often do you pull with your team? Do you say one thing and do another? Do you say one thing but really mean another?  Are you a pushmi-pullu kind of leader?

Certainly new leadership can feel quite daunted at the profundity of the role they have assumed. Exploring how to become a leader is a major part of assuming responsibility for any team, however, large or small. In one sense it makes little difference if you are leading a small business or a large corporate. People will judge your leadership skills whoever and wherever you are.

So what leadership qualities should you ignore? We’ve put together some annoying traits that we have seen in the wild!

13 Ways to become the leader from hell

1. Avoid imaginative and creative thinking at all costs. Concentrate on what doesn’t work and bang on about that.

2. Spend your time on prevention and lock down.

3. Get entrapped in short game thinking. Just look at recent stats and ignore the past. Focus wholly on recent performance.

4. Rule by fear.

5. Use the adage ‘ Remember, you can be replaced. I just have to say the word.’

6. Rescind all vestiges of responsibility. Nobody should have a say except you.

7. Compete on every level with everyone. Make sure your ‘high five’ is higher than anyone else.

8. Be ego-centric, after all, your narrative got you to where you are so it has to be right.

9. File ‘feedback, input and appraisals’ in the wastebasket.

10. Look over everyone’s shoulders and tell them how to do their job. After all, everyone could benefit from your insight.

11. Ensure everyone knows they need to earn your respect but you expect their unquestioned respect.

12. Spend your time trying to push and pull simultaneously.

13. Ignore colleagues’ personal lives. Work is work and home is home after all. Your way is the best way and the quicker your team adopts it the better it will be.

If that list appealed to your leadership style we suggest you ignore the following as it will be quite a shock to the system.

1. Leadership is about inspiration, empowerment, creativity, and trust. Every day we need to remind ourselves these things matter and our decision-making should reflect them.

2. Be CTI (Company 1st, Team 2nd and Individual 3rd) and inspire your team to be involved in the things they feel passionate about. It’s all about advancing a company, maintaining good staff and making tangible progress in every way.

3. Be on the same team. Pull with your people not against them.

4. Be curious, and ‘genuinely’ curious. Make time for people but don’t make it seem like a strategy. People quickly see through obsequiousness

5. Question, discuss, listen, suggest, accept and return. Don’t engage with people because you think they expect it. Do it because it matters, is beneficial and strengthens teamwork.

6. Begin with an initial question, connect and ignite with your second and gain insight and a result as you keep posing the questions.

7. Find spaces where you can fill a gap. Add something that helps and is meaningful. Make a difference. Add value and keep developing as a leader and as a human being and co-worker.

8. Motivate and communicate, keep the ‘Pushmi-pullyu’ in the reception area in a glass case to show just how the company has evolved.


Further Reading

Maxwell, John C Developing the Leader Within You Thomas Nelson 2012

Gell, Anthony The Book of Leadership  Piatkus 2014

Abib Pech, Marianne FT Guide to Leadership FT Publishing International 2013

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