Say what? 25 of the worst leadership lines ever.

Posted September 20, 2010 in Communication, Latest News & Insights

Just like a classically bad pick up line (“Do fries come with that shake?”), some leaders are notorious for dishing out lame leadership lines.  Case in point: the insecure leader who, when he wasn’t agreeing with what his highly capable direct report was saying, would start his rebuttal sentence with “not to demean you, but…”.  Classic.  So, I thought I’d poll some members, colleagues and strangers to find out their favourite “worst leadership lines… ever.”  Feel free to add your own.

  1. “We only hire Rockstars, you have to be a Rockstar, everyone needs to be a Rockstar.”
  2. “We’re going to build enterprise but talk cloud.” (huh?)
  3. “We lost [employee] today.  A good employee. I wish I could say the same for everyone else in the company.”
  4. “We need a team player that takes direction well, you know… a strong leader that can work independently and is a self starter.”
  5. “We will strive to be the blah blah blah blah; as reasonable.” (This was the mission statement!)
  6. “We want to become the “leader” in XXX by “following” best practices…”
  7. “You aren’t here for the client. You are here for me, to do what I tell you to do.”
  8. “Competence is presumed; personality is king.”  (Yikes…)
  9. “It’s not exactly rocket science…”
  10. “Everyone better do a good job IRREGARDLESS of whether they like it or not.” (Motivational AND grammatically incorrect!)
  11. “Though I respect your point of view but…” (Frankly, let’s add anything with a “but”)
  12. “We are in it to win it.” (And any other cheesy pep quote)
  13. “We have to break the paradigm of the blue sky process.” (A+ for consultant mumbo-jumbo on that one!)
  14. “I want everyone’s ideas. Just don’t expect me to use them.”
  15. “Consider me a benevolent dictator.”
  16. “My door is always open.  Unless it’s closed.”  (Oh my.)
  17. “Do as I say, not as I do.”
  18. “As leader, I’m the one that makes things happen around here. That’s why I’m paid the big bucks.” (Which came on the heels of layoffs and salary freezes).
  19. “Well, in MBA school I learned…” (Which was the pre-cursor to overriding any decision).
  20. “I know not everyone’s as smart as I am…” (True story…)
  21. “Self development is good. I’ve never seen the need to do it myself…” (From a boss who churned employees monthly).
  22. “It is what it is.” (true enough but doesn’t need to be repeated 25x a day)
  23. “I’ll only be the boss when I have to be the boss.  But remember, I’m the boss.”
  24. “My employees, my team, my assistant…” (It’s all about me…)
  25. “Everyone needs to keep priorities straight, and that’s not family and weekends” which was followed by something about how to be a “Rockstar.”

Well, those are the ones we could print anyway.  F-bombs, racial and sexist comments and other types were omitted from this PG list.  What are some of your favourite worst lines ever?  Share a laugh or horror story and let us know.

Happy leading!


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