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Top 5 things highly successful leaders should never do!

If you ask a CEO about some of the leading causes of failure for business leaders and entrepreneurs, you will probably get an answer rooted in a lack of experience, capabilities, or certain skills.

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But in truth, the answer resides in their behavior. This is what makes a world of difference between a great leader and a bad one. 

Aside from the common leadership qualities that successful people share, there’s also a list of what successful people don’t do. Granted, conventional wisdom states, “Never say never.” However, if you avoid these five bad habits, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better leader and achieving further levels of success faster.

Here are the top 5 things highly successful leaders should never do.

Act like and believe you know everything

“Successful people, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business, or profession.” — Napoleon Hill

Your ability to learn and grow determines your ability to lead. As an entrepreneur, you should know that the ideas and strategies of the past will not sustain the future of the organization.

If you act like and believe that you know everything, then that calls for stagnation, and stagnation is the enemy of progress, and by extension of success.

Malcolm Gladwell once said that the most transformative business leaders all shared three common traits: 

  • Being open and creative
  • Being conscientious and having the ability to follow through on ideas in order to make things happen
  • Being disagreeable and not being afraid of other people finding your ideas too crazy or too outside the box – “Successful people never worry about what others are doing.” — Plato


Leadership requires forward-thinking, something that cannot happen if you have an arrogant air about you, if you’re constantly thinking in terms of the status quo, and if you can’t entertain the idea of leaving your comfort zone. Investing in self-development through continuous learning can not only give you a competitive edge but also creates opportunities for you to grow and excel.

Neglect to seek out mentorship

Bad leaders always want to display how knowledgeable and proficient they are.

They’re convinced that seeking mentorship and advice is a show of weakness.

And because they’re intent on maintaining the authority they have, they rarely go out of their way to seek outside coaching. 

While wise leaders trust in their ability to learn and grow, they understand that  that ability can only get them so far on their own. In order for them to reach their full potential, successful leaders instinctively know when to solicit the help of not just one but a variety of mentors.

Be untruthful, gossip, or cheat

Being untruthful as a leader, gossiping, lying, and cheating does not only negatively affect your relationship with your team members and employees but also makes the work environment toxic, unproductive, and deeply uninspiring. One of the key qualities that a successful leader should possess is integrity. 

This means you have to be honest with yourself as well as those around you. You also have to live with the repercussions of your actions and the reputation you sow. A leader with integrity acts in accordance with their values, they practice what they preach, they own up to their mistakes, and they respect other people’s boundaries.

Neglect your health: mental & physical well-being

Successful leaders know they think, feel, and act at their best when both their mental and physical health are being well looked after.

They’re aware of the responsibilities and duties they have to fulfill and they know they cannot get those tasks done efficiently if their resources are depleted. 

It might come as a surprise, but being constantly overworked and sleep-deprived does not make you a great leader -a cranky one … sure. Overexerting yourself will only lead to burnout and at best, a short-lived success. This is why great leaders all religiously follow morning routines that cater to their mental and physical well-being.

Avoid showing gratitude

A culture of encouragement and gratitude will always outperform a culture of badly-delivered, often unconstructive, or blatantly aggressive criticism.

As a leader, your words carry extra weight, so when you show gratitude, whether it be for your co-workers, friends, family, and community, this promotes an environment of trust and collaboration instead of one where hostility and apprehension are dominant. 

The Takeaway

Great leaders are dedicated to learning, they know they won’t achieve the levels of success they dream of without the help of others, and most importantly they’re able to carry out their day-to-day business with gratitude and integrity. They not only strive to share their organization’s creativity and commitment but they also actively work to shape that organization into an environment that empowers and inspires its people.

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