8 Practices Of Highly Disliked Leaders

Leaders often struggle with the issue of whether being liked by their direct reports is important or not.  I personally believe it is because those on your team not only have to be ABLE to help you, they must also WANT to help you for your organization to thrive.  Otherwise, they will do the bare minimum necessary causing your leadership to be short-lived.

Recently, Nielson Sports partnered with the market research firm E-Poll to put together its list of America’s Most Disliked Athletes In 2013.  Now a quick disclaimer – this is their list, not mine.  However, it is interesting to see why people dislike a person and how long that feeling persists.  There is much here that all leaders can learn from.

Now onto the Top 10 Most Disliked Athletes and why they are on the list.

  • Highly Disliked Leaders Lack Integrity – Unto whom much is given, much is required.  Lance Armstrong was the most disliked athlete on the list.  He lied.  Not only did he lie but he did so from a large platform.  The lesson for leaders is that the larger your platform, the more vital your personal character is.  It also teaches us that even the largest platforms can be lost in an instant because of poor judgment.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Crave Personal Attention – It appears that Manti Te’o (#2 on the list) was the victim of a hoax.  However, those surveyed felt he embellished the idea for personal attention.  When your leadership becomes about you rather than others, you are sure to lose your influence.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Perform Poorly – Tiger Woods was #3 on the list.  We thought we knew Tiger.  His popularity was based both upon his image and high level of play.  When his image was destroyed because of his highly publicized infidelity problems, all that was left of his relationship with the public was his performance.  And that has not returned to its pre-2008 form.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Refuse To Pay The Price Of Leadership – Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (#4) is seen as standoffish with teammates and the public.  Also, the image of him not participating because of injury in the 2011 playoffs still lingers as a picture of  “softness”.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Made Big Mistakes – Meta World Peace (#5), Mike Vick (#7), and Kobe Bryant (#9) were all interesting case studies.  None has made mistakes in the last few years but still made the list because of past indiscretions.  The lesson for leaders is that people are generally forgiving, but it appears they rarely forget.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Have Poor People Skills – I am surprised that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez came in as low as #6.  Depending on the outcome of his latest PED investigation, he may rise to the second position.  Rodriguez simply comes off as unapproachable and unlikable.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Have Anger Issues – NASCAR driver Kurt Busch came in at #8 because of his hot temper and constant arguments with teammates and reporters.
  • Highly Disliked Leaders Are Often In High Profile Positions – Sometimes leaders are disliked simply because of the position they hold.  Take Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for example who came in at #10.  He has been a model citizen but because of the high-profile position he holds, he shoulders an excessive amount of blame.

A Lack Of Integrity, Craving Personal Attention, Poor Performance, Refusing To Pay The Leadership Price, Big Mistakes, Poor People Skills, Anger Issues, and being in a High Profile Position.  If you have any of these 8 practices, be careful.  You are mostly disliked as a leader and your tenure could be brief.

If this describes you, what is one thing you can do TODAY to begin building bridges with those you are called to serve?

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7 Responses to “8 Practices Of Highly Disliked Leaders”

  1. TJ on 11/02/2013 #


    So how would you advise Romo or other high profile leaders? It seems your saying then can do everything right and still be disliked.

    • briandodd on 11/02/2013 #


      Great to hear from you. I hated reading Tony on this list because he has been a model citizen. What this list teaches us is that sometimes you are disliked simply because of the position you hold. You attempt to build bridges but if people don’t recipricate, you simply have to move on. You’ve done everything you can do.


  2. Angelia Watts on 11/02/2013 #

    I usually enjoy reading your daily lists. However,I was very disappointed and saddened with this particular article. The read was suppose to be about the habits of highly disliked leaders, not blasting the mistakes of other people in our society. We are all capable of making mistakes or using poor judgement at time. I am not a sports fan, and really could not relate to this article. However, I felt really bad for the names of those published,and the fact that you had taken it upon yourself to deem them all as “disliked”. I found it kind of disgusting. (Just my thoughts).

    • briandodd on 11/02/2013 #


      Thanks for your comments. I’m sorry you did not enjoy the post. I think you may have missed its intent. The importance of the article is not who is on it, as most them should come as no surprise, but why they were on it. Leaders can learn a lot from this list and the impact their actions have on others. Sadly, oftentimes it is a lasting impact as the list teaches us.

      I do want want to say though how appreciate your desire for what I feel is probably inspiring and uplifting posts. That is a quality desperately needed in this world.

      Thanks again and I hope you comment often.


  3. Just meditated on the song, “Audience of One,” this morning. Our goal as leaders ought to be living for the Audience of One, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Here’s the link to the song:

    Thanks for sharing this post, Brian.

  4. Ken Patterson on 12/02/2013 #

    I personally read the blog for the comments that Brian responds with when someone disagrees with him. I almost learn more from his gracious responses than I do from the articles.

    Brian thank you.

    • briandodd on 12/02/2013 #


      I am blown away by your comments. Be gracious with people who disagree really starts with valuing people and also realizing you’re not Moses coming off the mountain with tablets.

      Eveyone’s time is very valuable. If someone gives you some of their’s to read a post, that should mean something. It should mean even more if they take more time to then comment. Their investment of time deserves my appreciation and respect even if they disagree with me.

      Your comments are a HUGE encouragement for me to continue thinking and acting in that manner.

      Blessings and have a great evening,

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