by Paul Casey

5 Traits of Corrosive Leadership

rusted carI grew up in Illinois, where they put salt on the streets to melt the snow/ice. If you didn’t keep your car clean, the salt would corrode the bottom panels of the car and leave a rusted-out, repulsive appearance.

While leaders have the power to make their people’s day, leaders can also have that corrosive influence as well. So often, I talk with typical employees who have nothing good to say about their boss. Frankly, it’s quite sad. That leader probably has no idea how this employee views him/her, or maybe doesn’t care. And he/she will lose this employee if not turning around his/her influence.

Corrosive leadership looks like:

  • Never casting vision–so the team has no idea what the target is
  • Never praising the team--so the team does not feel valued or appreciated
  • Shutting down new ideas--so the team just does status quo work to keep themselves out of trouble
  • Staying distant from the team–so the team loses trust in a leader never seen nor interacted with
  • Not dealing with issues--so the team is left sitting in a pile of tension that never gets resolved

You probably could add to my list, and PLEASE DO because we need to be on the lookout for those tendencies in us, and in broadcasting to others in our sphere of influence how not to shoot one’s self in the foot while out in front.

So, kick the salt off your wheel-wells by getting very clear on your vision, then sharing it; by pumping your team up with compliments and specific accolades; by praising calculated risk-taking and innovation; by being a servant-leader; and by addressing elephants in the room so they don’t run down morale.

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