What is your definition of a great leader?

For some, it means having qualities like offering encouragement to the staff, communicating effectively about company goals, and making sound decisions.

But the best definition might have more to do with what a leader won't ever do, no matter what. These great leaders take a stand on issues in ways that tend to create loyal fans. They just don't have the bandwidth for foolish thinking.

We like to follow people who are honest, respectable, loyal, and uncompromising. In many ways, not having certain attributes is what defines good leadership.

The best leaders won't ever do any of these things:

1. Lie about company plans

Transparency is key in the modern workplace. Without it, employees feel like they are not included or don't have a say in the company's direction. The best leaders communicate about those plans, but they never fudge the facts. They are honest about the challenges ahead. They never send a mixed message or coat the truth in a layer of obscurity and innuendo.

2. Half-fire someone

I've seen this acted out in real time before. Terrible leaders "half-fire" someone by demoting them or significantly changing his or her role. They back away from what really needs to be done, which is terminating someone directly. (There's a process for this, as you may know.) They shirk their true responsibility instead of standing up for the rest of the team.

3. Feign interest

Do you know a boss who feigned interest in something? It's irritating to employees because they can see through the ruse. I recently witnessed this when the main boss of a department acted like he knew something about an employee and pretended to be interested, yet had the facts wrong. It's better to ask questions, root out the details, and show genuine interest.

4. Mock someone

A great leader will never mock an employee. It is not in their vocabulary. (The word literally means to show contempt.) Kidding around is one thing, and everyone needs to lighten up once in awhile, but sarcasm is a tool of encouragement and creating levity in the workplace for great leaders, not a tool of derision or coercion. Only marginal leaders resort to those tactics.

5. Show bitterness

Why is it that leaders in business sometimes have a bone to pick? They carry around bitterness like another bag they have to check at the airline. People don't recognize you, or appreciate the raise you gave them, or understand the stress you endure. Sounds like a boo-hoo moment. Great leaders avoid those traps. Not only do they never show bitterness, they don't even have it in their DNA.