4 Signs You’re Not Leadership Material

4 Signs You're Not Leadership Material

I don’t know who came up with this extremely popular notion of promoting employees into leadership positions based on tenure, but to whoever’s responsible..stupid idea, bro.

The truth of the matter is this…


And that’s okay!

Just because you’re a genius in your field…

Just because you’ve been at your job for twenty-some odd years…

It doesn’t mean you have to have direct reports. 

It takes really particular skills to be a manager.

Heck- it takes a whole lot of patience too.

And for that reason, throughout my career I’ve been absolutely dumfounded when I’ve seen some not-so-leadership-material employees placed in managerial positions.

Let me say it again.


And like I said…that’s okay.

You can still be a genius.

You can still be kick-ass at your job.

But if you’re not leadership material, please, for God’s sake…don’t make other people suffer. 

Now some of you may be wondering whether or not you’re leadership material.

(But really…those of you who aren’t…you probably already know that.)

Just in case though…to clarify this for everyone…here are 4 Signs that You’re Not Leadership Material.

1. You Have Zero Social Skills/You Hate People

People say hi to you and you stare at them, but you don’t say hi back. You don’t hold doors open for people 5 centimeters behind you. You know…basic courtesy kind of stuff.

If you’re the kind of person who avoids social situations at all costs and really doesn’t want to be troubled with interpersonal relationships, then that’s fine…but you have no business managing others. This is pretty self-explanitory.

2. You Don’t Like It When People Ask You Questions

Questions annoy you. When people ask you dumb questions that you think they ought to know the answers to, you think they’re stupid…you think that they are mentally challenged. Every time that someone asks you a question, you feel that they’re taking time away from you doing your own work. Open door policy? Forget that! Locked door policy is what you’d implement…peace and quiet is what you need.

Good managers want their employees to feel comfortable coming to them whenever they have questions. And the reality is, good employees do ask a lot of questions. Managers need to accept that part of their job is helping out their direct reports, and they shouldn’t make them feel bad about seeking that support.

3. You Couldn’t Care Less if Your Team is Motivated/Inspired

You’re sure as hell no cheerleader. You don’t think it’s your job to motivate those around you. You’re here to get a job done and everyone should be on the same page as you.

FALSE. Managers need to be cheerleaders. If it’s not written in the job description, someone’s lying to you. If you want your team to work well and to perform to the best of its ability, you’ll need to take out those metaphorical pom-poms at times and inspire your people. Because let’s face it, there are times at any job when morale is low. And when morale is low, not a whole lot of work gets done. Teams that get out of that slump are the teams who have great leaders, and believe me, they’re super grateful for that. Look into it…they call it transformational leadership. 

4. You Want to Punch Positive People in the Face

You hate it when people smile. You hate it when you come to work Monday morning and people are actually happy. What the heck is wrong with them? They ought to be a bit less peppy.

If you’re a negative Nancy, you have no business managing others. You need to be a positive influence, and people need to actually enjoy being around you. Do you have to do backflips everyday and sing songs? No. But you should strive to be a positive role model for others and part of that means helping others see the bright side of things regardless of how bad any work situation is.

***Now it’s your turn…what else makes someone not leadership material?

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  1. namenews

    March 23, 2015 at 9:17 am

    An informative article.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      March 27, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Thanks! Glad you found it interesting!

    2. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2015 at 7:03 pm


  2. alundeberg

    March 23, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Implied in all of this is wanting to listen to others and problem solve collaboratively. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be a leader.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      March 27, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Amen! Collaborating and problem solving are KEY! Thanks for reading 🙂

    2. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Absolutely! Thanks for reading!

  3. jonhull1968

    March 23, 2015 at 11:10 am

    There have been books and books written on this subject – this sums it up perfectly great blog

    1. Kayla Cruz

      March 27, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Thanks, Jon! Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to read.

    2. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks so much, Jon! Glad you liked it! Have a great weekend!

  4. Ola Allam

    March 23, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Great article.
    I think that leaders should be people who understands others and can see the best in them and bring it out. Also, selfish people make dictatorial leaders.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      March 27, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      Yea, selfish people are not ideal leaders. Thanks for reading!

    2. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      I love that! You’re totally right. Seeing the best in others and bringing out the best in them… not an easy task all the time, but it’s what all leaders should strive to do! Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Coral

    March 23, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for posting this. About a week ago, I had to ask someone in my office to rewrite their section of a larger document I’m responsible for, and it was so difficult for me to do that. When he came to my desk for greater clarity, I was visibly awkward about it, because giving people orders or instructions is something that makes me very uncomfortable. I made a little joke about “this is why I should never be in charge of other people” and he immediately shushed me and told me not to say that out loud in the office, lest I dig my own promotional grave. Just because you’re good at what you do doesn’t mean you need to lead others, and it sucks that so many careers only offer promotions that involve managing others.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      March 27, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Yes! You see??? It’s not for everyone! But like you said, you can still be great at your job. If you were to be put in a position where you have to manage others and you don’t like to do that, you’re going to be miserable on the job and you’ll likely make everyone else miserable in the process. Thanks so much for reading! Hope you’ll keep coming back, and keep me posted on your work stories 🙂

  6. Johnd528

    April 5, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your articles. efdegfddkbdc

  7. Vashti

    May 4, 2015 at 8:29 am

    While I want to own my own business, I do not want to be a manager/supervisor in a corporate setting. Solely because of #4. The rest of them though I am not, but I totally agree. My current job, has promoted people into positions where they clearly have no clue what is going on, and couldn’t help if they wanted. Most of the time their response is, you know better than I do. SERIOUSLY?

    Great POST.

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