As an executive coach, I have seen firsthand the best and worst examples of leadership at the highest levels.
Many are exemplary servant leadership behaviors that engage individuals, groups, and organizations to perform beyond measure. Others I would label as downright toxic.
To continue to elevate your leadership capacity and engage the hearts and minds of people to do great things will take learning and practice. More important, learn to avoid the traits of the most toxic bosses to keep you out of trouble.
With that said, I have found that these three examples are indications that a person may not have what it takes to lead, right now.
1. You want everything to go your way.
Honest question to ask yourself: Do you call all the shots to ensure everything comes out your way?
A previous client was a CEO who demanded that things went his way all the time. And when a situation didn't go his way, he didn't have the emotional maturity to handle the problem without causing more problems. If team members proposed a better solution to a business challenge in a conference call, I noticed a bullyish attempt on his part to try and change their minds and ridicule their rationale, on the spot.
Uninhibited emotions show up much easier over a computer screen when you operate through dominant behaviors like bullying. This "my way or the highway" campaign may later manifest in private virtual meetings in which this toxic way of leading will divide and conquer by turning team members against one another.
2. You criticize people in front of their peers.
Criticizing people in front of their peers is an engagement killer that stifles the human spirit. So is systematically turning down other people's good ideas and initiatives. The effects of working under such a boss are plentiful, the most prominent of which is growing frustrated to the point of losing interest, enthusiasm, or care for the work being done.
3. You steal the spotlight.
The team puts together a wonderful product and rolls it out on time. The client is happy about how much money and time the new system will save. And then it happens: The boss takes all the credit. No praise for the team, no celebration of everyone's success, no recognition of team members for their contributions. This type of manager will steal the light and thunder away from the team, which is a total engagement killer.