Take a second to think about the best and worst bosses you've ever had. Think about the difference in how you feel thinking about one versus the other. Now that you're the leader, what feeling are you giving your team?

It's no surprise that the best companies are started and directed by great leaders. It takes a confident leader to attract and inspire top talent, manage teams and execute despite all the difficulties that come with running a business. Your success is based on your ability to lead effectively.

The good news is that leadership skills can be developed. One of the fastest ways to become a great leader is to identify and avoid the traits that bad leaders exhibit. Here's a list of the negative things that bad leaders do that you should avoid at all costs.

1. They think they're the best at everything

Bad leaders often have an inflated sense of their own abilities, which leads them to always think they're right or their the best at everything. And of course, they aren't.

2. They're not into self-growth

While a good leader knows that life is a continual process of self-growth, a bad leader believes that they're perfect already. They simply rest on their laurels and ignore opportunities for learning and self-growth.

3. Their actions don't match their words

Bad bosses often say one thing and then do another, which makes it all but impossible for their team members to trust them.

4. They surround themselves with "Yes" people

Bad leaders surround themselves with people who don't challenge their decisions or opinions, but rather enable them to do whatever they want.

5. They can't deal with conflict

When it's time to have a difficult conversation, poor leaders often shirk their responsibility to address the issue. In these cases, they are ambiguous in their messaging, which leads to miscommunication, or they avoid conflict altogether, hoping the issue will resolve itself.

6. They don't take your input

Since bad bosses think they're always right, they rarely consider your perspective or value your input.

7. They try to control everything

Bad leaders struggle to delegate responsibilities - even when they have talented employees and partners. In many cases, they can't trust someone else to do as good as a job as they can. This stifles growth and kills morale.

8. They focus on features rather than performance

Weak leaders focus on rolling out new features instead of ensuring that the core functions of a product or service are bulletproof before moving on to the next feature.

9. They don't create a company culture

Bad leaders don't go through the process of defining and creating a culture that empowers and uplifts their team. They don't see the ROI of company culture or its value on a human level.

10. They don't censor what they say

Bosses who make hyperbolic statements (or simply don't think before they speak) often have a harder time hiring top talent or raising money from investors than those who express themselves more deliberately. They lack the verbal skills of likable people.

11. They care more about money than customers

Though profit is important, people are key. Bad leaders focus on making money more than on providing real value or support to their customers.

12. They're driven by ego

Leaders who don't have a strong self-esteem are often ruled by their ego, which can lead to making decisions that prioritize their needs ahead of the company's.

13. They are overly optimistic

Poor CEOs believe that everything will turn out fine, even when the facts suggest otherwise. They can get so stuck in their dreams that they fail to asses the risks that threaten those dreams.

14. They never ask for help

Bad bosses believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness and thus fail to ask for it, even when they need it most.

15. They don't learn from their mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, but when bad leaders err, they don't take the opportunity to change their mindset and learn from their mistakes.

Final Word

By observing bad leaders in action, and identifying the traits that are indicative of poor leadership, you can avoid making those same mistakes yourself. This pattern recognition technique will help you stay focused on the positive behaviors that great leaders possess.