“Courageous leader.” You’ve heard the term. But there’s as much cowardice as courage out there. Cowardly leaders are:
1. Lazy. They’ll do anything to avoid work, sending a clear message: “I’m not there for you.”
2. Backstabbing. They badmouth both their staff and the top brass.
3. Evasive. They avoid hard choices, saying, “This isn’t the right time. They ask for more data. They dither.
4. Deaf or tone-deaf. This leader has all the answers and won’t listen.
5. Unfair. They can’t muster the courage to hold their favorites accountable.
6. Unfocused. They never quite complete projects.
7. Incurious. They don’t really know, and they don’t really care.
8. Weak. They’re happy to bask in reflected power.
9. Static. All living things grow or die. These leaders are dying.
10. Inauthentic. They mislead. They sugarcoat. They offer only window dressing.
11. Unconnected. Relationships are scary. Bond with your people or lose them.
12. Stuck. The best learn and adapt.
— Adapted from “12 Signs of Cowardly Leadership,” Jeff Schmitt, Forbes.