What are the salient traits of a weak leadership?
The most recognized types of leadership styles are: a) charismatic leadership, b) transformational leadership and, c) transactional leadership. Although each of these types of leadership are indicative of strong, positive qualities, like with any personality trait, there is sadly a pathological counterpart that may develop when choices are made for all the wrong reasons.
In charismatic leaders, according to Montgomery Van Wart, while the salient positive trait is their attractive and engaging personalities, the negative trait that may develop is an out-of control ego and a necessity for maintaining a level of popularity. As a result, bad choices may be made just to maintain such popularity such as favoritism, despotic behavior, and other dishonest practices.
In transactional leaders there are very few chances for deviation since their leadership style is based on negotiation and flexibility, however, transactional leaders who are not properly trained may fail in front of stronger, faster thinking and scheming negotiators who may tap on the common ignorance of leaders with less experience. Hence, a poor transactional leader is not just weak, but prone to being lied to, and even bullied, by someone with more business savvy.
Transformational leaders are mostly independent and strong-willed enough to change an entire concept and turn it into something completely new and different. The most famous transformational leader in the 20 and 21st centuries is undoubtedly Steve Jobs, who transformed the Apple empire and, literally, changed the world of technology. Yet, even Steve Jobs had issues such as his temperament and his tendency to isolate himself. Although these factors certainly did not affect Apple as an corporation, there is only one Steve Jobs for every 10 million regular citizens. Hence, a less brilliant transformational leader may not be as easy to forgive if intelligence comes hand in hand with mood swings. In a world that is turning more emotional and less rational, it is imperative that leaders of all kinds put on a strong facade of patience and tolerance even when they do not feel like it.
In all, bad leaders from all three categories may display weak character, poor negotiation skills, lack of knowledge, evident frustration in their behavior, lack of communication skills, a bad plan of action, a tendency to change moods or lack of people skills, disorganization and lack of focus, favoritism, inappropriate fraternization, and overall deviation from the original vision of the organization.