Wondering which traits loudly signal a leader's lack of competence over all the others? Don't worry; we've got you covered. There are 7 traits in particular that give away a leader's lack of professionalism.

If you're a leader, make sure you aren't engaging in these same habits yourself.

1. Lack of accountability

Even though we expect certain levels of irresponsibility from employees and team members, leaders are definitely held to a different, higher standard. They are expected to maintain and uphold the policies and deadlines they set for others. If they can't meet the very reasonable expectations they've set themselves, then how could others respect and follow them?

2. Indecisiveness

Although a certain amount of indecisiveness is natural--especially while a leader is gathering the facts of a situation--too much of it can encourage employees to be equally uncertain of their purpose in the company. Leaders need to make it clear what they stand for, why they do what they do, and where they hope to go. If not, they'll seem incredibly unsure and unprofessional.

3. Callousness

While yes, it's important to maintain a confident and resolute exterior presence as a leader, it's equally as important to demonstrate that you are able to empathize with those on your team. The capacity to understand where your team members, employees, and fellow coworkers are coming from transforms you from being a subpar leader to one that understands the nuances of a healthy work-life balance.

4. Self-consciousness

When leaders are naturally charismatic, charming, and able to sway those they work with, people more readily believe in them. Unapologetically owning who you are and what you do is a trait that shines through the most qualified of leaders.

5. Negativity

While no one likes a Debbie Downer, in general, a lack of positivity can actually be crippling in professional settings. Without a driving force to keep people moving and inspired, it can feel futile to undertake any task, or engage in any activity. Negativity in leaders simply discourages employees and makes leaders seem un-invested in their own work.

6. Easily distracted

A lack of focus reads very clearly in a leader's organization or planning. If there isn't a clear end goal in mind, or reasonable and realistic steps outlined that one must take in order to get there, then employees will surely feel lost enough to stop believing in the cause along the way.

7. Unawareness

One of the most important traits of being a good, professional leader is the ability to be aware. Being cognizant of not just what you do, but also the impact your actions have on those around you, is an integral part of knowing how to act in the most tense of situations. Keep your awareness up and your appearance calm, cool, and collected in the professional world.

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Published on: Oct 20, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.