A leader can be guilty of many crimes against their workforce.

Some are deliberate. Others commit them through carelessness. And yet more are the result of either ignorance or arrogance.

Whatever the reason for the crime there is always a consequence.

A price to pay.

A penalty.

And it is very rarely a positive one.

As you read through this ‘charge sheet’, be honest and say whether any of these crimes relate to you…


1)   You lead based on the ‘divide and conquer’ theory

The accusation. You choose to cause conflict between team members on purpose.

You seem to be very aware of how to irritate and upset the individuals under your authority. And you do this as part of your leadership style.

You believe that to get results you need to have people competing against one another. The concept of working together in a collaborative and supportive manner is alien to you.

You believe that if your team members are fighting, you protect your position.



You find the drama of office fights more alluring than teamwork


That they are so busy squabbling with one another that they will not bother you.

You would also appear to enjoy the drama. The warring factions reporting back to you. Up-dating you daily on their battles, arguments and disagreements.

Furthermore, you are a firm believer that this is the only way to lead a team. And when other alternatives present themselves, you dismiss them out of hand.

How do you plead – ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’?


2)   You live the ‘blow hot and cold’ habit

As a leader, you stand accused of a very serious crime; that you ‘blow hot and cold’ in your behaviour.

You seem unaware or uninterested in consequences that this has on those around you.

Incidents include the following:

That on Monday morning as you walked to your office you made a point of speaking to every member of your team. This helped create an excellent atmosphere. Team spirit remained positive throughout the day. Productivity was high.

That on Tuesday morning you stormed to your office. Ignored all comments and questions from your team as you passed by. You did slam your door closed and spoke to no-one until you left, without a word, an hour before close of business.

This drama and negative attitude affected the atmosphere in the team for the entire day. Mistakes peaked. Urgent items overlooked. Finally, one member of the team suffered a severe panic attack.

That when providing feedback to colleagues you would on one occasion call them into your office and speak to them with courtesy. Explain things in an articulate way. Making them feel like a valued member of staff.

Yet on another occasion, you shouted in-front of the entire team. Made little sense and caused the individual to feel worthless, stupid and humiliated.



Basically, you act like a storm in a teacup


You cannot think that this erratic behaviour does anything for your leadership reputation. Or anything at all positive for the efficiency or effectiveness of your team.

Or, do you?

Only you know.

How do you plead – ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’?


3)   You operate the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ Policy

You are next accused of breaking ‘the golden rule’ of not leading by example.

You seem oblivious to the impact that any leader has when it comes to setting the tone for those they lead.

You appear to be ignorant of the ‘Follow the Leader’ principle. Where what you do, and how you do it, is always under observation…always!



Your team are always looking, watching and judging your actions.


In summary, the evidence in support of this charge includes:

That you expect others to be on time for meetings whilst you have a reputation for always being late!

That you expect others to turn up for work looking smart and professional. Whilst you can, on occasion, look like you have come to work directly from your bed – having slept in your clothes!

That you expect others to work hard and focus on their tasks. With very little ‘non-work’ conversation taking place. Whilst you can often be overheard on the ‘phone organising your holidays. Social events and personal appointments. As well as having frequent visits from friends and family.

That you expect others to put in a full week’s work at the office. Whilst you often work from home – especially on Friday’s in the summer months.

As a leader, one of your most essential tasks is to lead by example.

How do you plead – ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’?


4)   You do not listen

One of the vital skills of any leader is the ability to listen. In an active manner and with full concentration to their team members.

Unfortunately, this is yet another leadership characteristic you are failing to achieve.

You seem to believe that Communications Skills training is beneath you. That you don’t need to bother with basic stuff like…listening!

Offers for leadership and management training courses. Books that speak about the value of listening and its relevance to leadership. You dismiss it all as beneath you.

You are unaware of the countless good ideas that you failed to install during your leadership. All because you chose not to listen when colleagues offered their suggestions.

You fail to appreciate that people would feel more valued if you would only invest a little time to listen to them.

You, like anyone else, can learn the skills to become a better listener.  You can hone them through practice over time.



Practice makes perfect


But, you won’t because you don’t want to. This is a real flaw in your abilities as a leader. It makes it impossible for those around to communicate with you in any meaningful way.

How do you plead: ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’? 


5)   You expect your team to be mind readers

You are now accused of assuming that your team should know what you want from them. Without ever having to tell them what it is.

In short, you expect your team to be able to read your mind.

To be very clear…your role as a leader is, well that…to be very clear!

Leadership is not some version of a Dan Brown thriller. You are not the central character in some never-ending riddle solving fest. Your job is not to confuse but to clarify.




When your team is at peace, they might finally be able to read your mind.


The job of your team is not to crack the complex code of your mind but carry out your clear instructions.

To make matters worse when your team fail to read your mind (which they will) the overwhelming body of evidence suggests that you use sarcasm and loaded comments to ridicule the ‘offenders’!

You would fail on every occasion to recognise that is was YOU who set up the confusion. That it is YOU who have these impossible expectations of your team. And it is YOU who is the source of all the problems.

It’s completely escaped your attention that ‘mind reading’ leadership causes inefficiencies and ineffectiveness.  To say nothing of wasting resources. Discontentment. Mass confusion. And panic all within the team.

None of this is necessary. It is avoidable. And yet whilst you carry on in this crime against leadership, the consequences are only too predictable.

How do you plead ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’?


6)   You don’t appreciate your Team

You are now accused of what on the surface would appear to be a rather petty offence.

But, this offence can carry the most severe of penalties.

The evidence suggests that you neglect to show any appreciation for the efforts shown by your team.

You do not thank people for their productivity

You do not acknowledge when an individual has gone the ‘extra mile’

You do not recognise a good idea when it’s offered

You do not pass on praise to your team when it’s received from those above or outside

You do not use meetings to thank anyone for anything

You do not see the value in pinning up ‘thank you’ cards, letters or e-mails received from customers



Your team doesn’t even get high-fives!


You take your team for granted and that is a very dangerous state of affairs.

You do not have to:

  • Go out for dinner with them
  • Go out for a drink after work with them
  • Take them paintballing
  • Be their best friend
  • Make them laugh
  • Do anything other than show appreciation for them…from time to time.

As a leader, if you don’t appreciate your team then they will seek out another leader who will. The harshest of all penalties is the loss of a good team.

How do you plead: ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’?


7)   You do not invest in the development of yourself or your people

The accusation before you is of not developing the skills and abilities of yourself or your team.

Your mindset is that everyone knows enough to do their jobs and what more is there to know? You never received any leadership and management training to do your job. So why should your team need any to do theirs?

You are under the belief that training courses are a waste of time and money.

You believe that leadership and management programmes are unnecessary for you and people.

You don’t buy into the notion that unless you are moving forward, learning and evolving then you are, in reality, moving backwards. You know everything. There is nothing more to learn.

You don’t see the potential benefits of one of your team undertaking some specific learning. Coming away with even a couple of new ways of thinking. Behaving or doing which could have a major impact on the rest of the team.



You fail to understand how developing your team members improves your performance


You believe it’s acceptable to put someone in a supervisory role with no training. Your philosophy is “throw them in the deep, sink or swim”.

You don’t waste your precious time on any one-to-one meetings where you might coach or mentor your team on an individual basis.

You don’t provide feedback – most likely because you don’t how to do it…because you’ve never had the training to do it.

You don’t bother with annual Appraisals because you think they are a pointless tick box exercise. Well, you will because you’ve never trained your staff to appreciate what an Appraisal is. What the benefits are and how to get the most from one.

Bottom line, you don’t believe in training and development. You miss out on realising your full potential as a leader. Your people miss out on realising their potentials within their roles. And the organisations lose on all fronts.

How do you plead: ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’?


There rests the case for the prosecution.

As a leader, if you are innocent of all charges then thank you for your time and congratulations on your excellent leadership skills!

But, if you recognise yourself as committing any of these offences then let me calm your fears.

There is hope for you. Are you prepared to take the steps toward rehabilitating your leadership skills?

All skills are learnable, which means that leadership skills are learnable, too.

So, why pay the penalties for committing these crimes when you could reap the rewards of Great Leadership?