Bypassing the Common Leadership Trap Called Stupidity

These ideas can help you avoid foolish pitfalls many leaders stumble into.
These ideas can help you avoid foolish pitfalls many leaders stumble into. (Pexels)

Have you ever had a boss who did something really stupid? Maybe it was something well-intentioned that ended up being dumb, wrong, illogical or even illegal? Do you ever worry about doing something just as stupid?

Here is a fun and incredibly simple way to avoid becoming a stupid leader.

In my business parable,The Impacter: A Parable on Transformational Leadership, Grayson HR has been honored as the company of the year by a prestigious business magazine. Investigative reporter, Tony Sullivan, is assigned to uncover what makes Grayson HR such a great company and their founder, Joe Grayson, such a great leader.

During Tony's first interview, Joe discloses:

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"When I formed Grayson HR, I walked away from corporate America with a distinct bad taste in my mouth. After years of climbing the traditional corporate ladder, and watching helplessly as my ladder was moved, broken, or even removed without notice, I decided it was time to start building the kind of firm I had only dreamed of. This company would be more than just about profits, although profit is something any private firm must attain or you close your doors." (The Impacter pg. 24)

What Joe did next launched his award-winning company.

Create a "Stupid Things Leaders Do" List

"One day, after a particularly tough day, I sat down with one blank notepad in front of me. At the top of the page I wrote, 'Stupid Things I've Seen Leaders Do.' I began listing things like profit at all costs, delaying vendor payments, across-the-board pay cuts, mass firings, not doing what they said, not standing up for what they believed in or said, flying off the handle, not following through on commitments, unwillingness to make the tough decisions, losing their vision, saying one thing and doing another, etc." (The Impacter pg. 24)

Joe began by ensuring his new company would not be led the same ways.

Perhaps you've seen many of the same things Joe listed above at work.

Perhaps some of these need to be on YOUR personal "Stupid Things Leaders Do" list.

"Hey Dr. Jim, you mean I should make my own list?" you may ask.

Yep. It's time for you to create your own "Stupid Things Leaders Do" list—or risk doing them yourself!

Trust me, this is fun.

Action Plan

  1. Take 2-3 minutes right now and brainstorm a "Stupid Things Leaders Do" list, things you've personally seen, witnessed or read about.
  2. Save your list where you can easily get to it (digital, paper or both).
  3. Share below one or more of the things you put on your list. DO NOT share the names of people or companies. Remember, sharing your list is for fun—not for revenge!

Excited to see what's on your list—and to compare them to mine.

Dr. Jim Harris is President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.

This article originally appeared at

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