Qualities of Bad Leadership

Qualities of a Bad Leader from Proverbs: Part II

Qualities of a Bad Leader from Proverbs: Part II

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Bad leaders come in many varieties. There are bad military leaders, bad dictators, bad bosses, bad presidents, bad labor leaders, bad church leaders, bad business leaders, bad parents, and more. The Book of Proverbs mentions good (wise) leaders and bad (evil) leaders all throughout the Old and New Testament. If you missed my last blog on the Qualities of a Good Leader from Proverbs, you might want to check out the following blog link.


When my youngest son was in 5th grade, he joined the YMCA’s basketball class. It was his very first encounter with team basketball. He was a novice while some of the other boys were very experienced in the game. I will never forget one Saturday morning game. The two teams were running up and down the court acting as if they were big shot basketball players playing like their win would get them into the Basketball Hall of Fame. [I might mention that my son was skipping up and down the court.] Actually, it was somewhat cute to me. Long story short is that my son just happened to get his hands on the ball during the last few seconds of the game and he dunked it good! His surprise dunk won the game for his team. He was the hero. He got the applause, the high-fives, and the pats on the back.

Then, the fireworks began. There was a more experienced and aggressive fifth grader on the team whose father felt his son should have made the winning dunk. Out in the lobby of the YMCA, this father could be heard hollering and seen hitting his son for not getting the ball away from my son and making the winning points himself. I will never forget the look on that little boy’s face as he was belittled, hit, and humiliated by his own father. The next thing we saw was his father being pushed in the back of a police car in the YMCA parking lot. Someone must have called and reported him. Now, this is a real-life example of a poor leader. Not only did he belittle and embarrass his son, he exhibited jealousy, violence, and arrogance.

Some commentaries call the Old Testament King Ahab one of the most wicked kings Israel ever had. Even God said that King Ahab did more evil than any other king before him. King Ahab was the king of Israel around 869 to 850 BC. While he was an able warrior, he was completely disloyal to God and embraced his wife Jezebel’s paganism. The LORD gave Ahab a chance to redeem himself through the Prophet Elijah, but he refused. His legacy is intermingled with his wicked wife Jezebel, but even his father King Omri taught him to be wicked and as such he is remembered as an evil and corrupt king. In Richard R. Losch’s book All the People in the Bible, Losch describes Ahab as being “one of [Scriptures] more notorious scoundrels.” ¹

Some of the traits Success Magazine mentions about a bad leader in 15 Traits of a Terrible Leader are:

  • Lack of transparency
  • Dismissing ideas others than your own
  • Ego
  • Lack of empathy
  • Poor communication
  • Closed-mindedness
  • Inconsistency, and more. ²

In Biblical history, Herodias, Jehoram of Judah, Abimeleck, Herod, and Judas Iscariot were leaders in the Bible known as bad leaders. In Worst Presidents: Warren Harding (1921-1923) by Jay Tolson, President Warren Harding was mentioned as being one of the worst Presidents of the United States because he was more concerned with his womanizing, poker, golf, and mistress. ³ Even Harding admitted it. He said, “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.”

I hope the basketball father mentioned at the beginning of this post made a turn-around. Watching ‘bad leadership’ is not a nice scene to witness. Ever!

Qualities of a Bad Leader: Book of Proverbs [Not exhaustive]

God Bless You.


Bible Verses: See above.


LORD, help me to recognize bad leadership. Let me discern between good and evil. As I evaluate others, let me look for their integrity, character, and their relationship with you. Let me always remember that just because someone is a leader that it does not mean that they are good leaders. O LORD, let me also remember that Scripture commands us to pray for all those in authority over us.

¹ Losch, Richard. All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, And Other Characters in Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

² “15 Traits of a Terrible Leader.” Success 13 Jan. 2015. Web.

³ Tolson, Jay. “Worst Presidents: Warren Harding (1921-1923). U.S. News and World Reports. 16 Feb. 2007. Web.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001.

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