Leadership Development: Five Signs a Leader Needs It

Most business leaders do not attain a leadership position overnight. They climb through the ranks until, once their development as a leader is ostensibly complete, they receive the title they aspired to for years. That title does not ensure superior leadership. In spite of their executive status, some leaders alienate themselves from employees by engaging in the following tactics:

Strategic Noncompliance – Strategic noncompliance is an antiseptic term for the word “lying,” as it essentially amounts to agreeing to take an action that will not be taken. Sometimes, strategic noncompliance is used as a white lie: a manager promises something to a department or an individual in order to keep the peace and have a project move forward. However it is used, the result is the same: company morale suffers.

Information Manipulation– By the time they retire, most leaders have seen thousands of custom reports. How they shared the information in those reports can influence their legacy. Although the information in high-level reports seldom reaches workers in its purest form, there is a difference between manipulating information and simply withholding some of it for professional reasons. Ethical leaders choose the latter option.

Purposeful Intimidation– Leaders quickly discover that intimidation is an easy way to get what they want, whether from individuals or departments. Sometimes, the intimidation is direct, such as the threat to fire someone for a contrived reason; other times, it is veiled, such as the threat to downsize a department based on the recommendations of business consultants. Although leaders cannot afford to be softies, intimidation is a poor approach to problem solving, and should be addressed with leadership development.

Filibustering– Instead of using intimidation to get what they want, some leaders exact their will by filibustering, incessantly talking until the opposition surrenders out of frustration or sheer hunger. In the political arena, filibustering is used when the parties to an issue are inherently locked on opposite sides. At a company, where parties should be on the same side, filibustering one’s colleagues is perhaps the worst strategy for achieving something that everyone should agree on.

Blame Shifting– Some leaders want the benefits of being a decision maker, but not the accountability it brings – a scenario that can lead to blame shifting. In addition to the blame shifter not addressing a problem, those who are unfairly blamed for it often behave indignantly, and shift the problem yet again. If there were ever an example of what not to do to solve a problem effectively, blame shifting is it.


As welcoming as it can look from the outside, being a company leader is a difficult job. To be a successful leader – not just a successful executive – one must be humble, insightful, and willing take the right actions in the face of adversity. Leadership training can help leaders acquire these traits and avoid the tactics mentioned above. For information on receiving leadership training, contacting business consultants that specialize in leadership development is the best option.

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