If you want to be a leader people respect, avoid these ten things

Alex Mathers


You don’t need to be the CEO of a glitzy corporation to be a leader.

We lead as small biz owners. We lead when we write and share online. We lead as siblings. We lead as coaches. We lead in our schools. We lead our families.

We all have the capacity in us to move those who matter to us.

Over my years as a human behaviour geek, these are the behaviours I see again and again in poor leaders that block you from making the impact you desire:

Avoid appearing flawed.

Great leaders know that they need to be relatable to inspire people to action.

If a leader is seen as too ‘perfect,’ they will not inspire trust but rather detachment.

Great leaders are willing to expose some flaws to encourage others to be ok with theirs.

Act aloof, superior, or submissive.

Great leaders communicate with those around them as equals, whether it’s the bathroom attendant or their top manager.

This doesn’t mean the hierarchical order is ignored, whether in a company or a family.

Hierarchies are there for a good reason, but they are challenging to maintain when members feel looked down on.

They will resist this, leaving the ‘leader’ confused at his lack of impact. A great leader ultimately seeks to make others look and feel good.


If a leader resorts to telling lies to maintain ‘order’ in his leadership, he is doomed.

Lies have a short shelf life. They will either eventually be unearthed or pollute the environment because people sense something is ‘off.’

When information is sensitive, it can be withheld, but great leaders always tell the truth.

Be Politically correct.

You need to tread with care here. I’m talking about leaders who have no interest in sugar-coating or straight delusion as a means to impress their followers.

They are willing to lose societal brownie points to serve their people best. They are ok with…