Being Overly Defensive is a bad leadership trait

Angry, Defensive Leader, Overly Defensive Man, Man Male Face Expression, Angry Man, Adult

Have you ever noticed that the less powerful a leader, the more defensive they usually behave? They become quickly offended, often responding disproportionately to different kinds of trivial offenses.

Whenever anyone disagrees with them or challenges an action or an opinion (regardless of whether the objection is legitimate or not), they react as if “how dare anyone disagrees with them.” The reaction is overly defensive, in anger, and with uncomfortable expressions reflecting their surprise.

There are several causes and reasons for this kind of behavior. Some incompetent leaders behave almost as if they are delusional, as if they are always right and could really do no harm in any situation. Unfortunately, or fortunately, few of them truly feel that way, more often acting that way as a sort of compensating for their obvious inadequacies. They continually “fool themselves” into thinking that they hold a skill set that they do not, and thus either take actions that they shouldn’t because they don’t know the full ramifications of their actions, or they dodge taking actions that they should when they should, and their procrastination causes undesired negative consequences.

While leadership coaching and experience could genuinely resolve much of this behavior, an expert methodology for leadership selection is another necessary ingredient if professionally and properly executed. Just because a person is either elected or selected to lead an organization, and even if that individual is a good human being with the best of intentions, it often does not translate into the imperative leadership skills, understanding, and characteristics. Statistically, the best leaders are usually those people who are good at HR (human resources) and related interpersonal issues. One of the most neglected issues in leadership training is effective listening abilities and skills. In my articles and narratives on effective listening, I broadly discuss the significance and methodology of learning all the skills and importance to effective listening. Leaders who are not competent listeners rarely gain the crucial insights needed to be productive and effective leaders.

Like so many other matters related to powerful and productive leadership, this issue of the “thin-skinned,” incompetent leader can be predominantly addressed via practical leadership training. However, what many firms “pass off” as leadership training achieves few of the requisites to educate, train, direct and formulate influential leaders effectively.

Without authentic leaders, organizations fail. Firms must come to realize that leaders are not just “born,” but even the most experienced individual needs specialized coaching to equip him better to lead a particular organization and to understand all the inevitable nuances of both the company and its employees.

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