What is False Leadership?

False leadership is when a person is in charge of a group and leads for the prospect of personal ego satisfaction vs the betterment of the group. We see false leaders in every place there is a group of people that require a center point of communication (leader). Political leaders are perhaps the best example of false leaders, but there are plenty more.


A false leader is a person who is rooted in narcissism. They lead because being in charge makes them feel good. Or, they genuinely believe no one else is smart enough (or good enough) to do what they do. False leaders are often charismatic, big personalities that garner a following of tightly knit people around them as sycophants. They often see themselves as the “buck stops here” kind of personality with a strong drive to be seen as the person responsible for every success within their field or company.

What are the traits of a FALSE LEADER?

Narcissism, selfishness, egotistical, prideful, overbearing, charismatic, shallow, perception oriented, and greatly concerned with hearsay and rumors. A good example is someone who picks teams and intentionally puts themselves on the “best” team despite their obvious inability to perform at the same level. This would be akin to a basketball coach saying they’re one of the players to get the glory of the actual players on the field. You can see this in the corporate world too. False leaders will consistently position themselves to gather the best team, and see themselves as a “manager” of said team. When it comes to work, they’ll check in on occasion, make demands and when it’s all said and done, they’ll take credit for the work the team has done. You may even see them get a promotion out of it while other people did all the work despite their ineffective leadership and lack of understanding of the actual task.

How can you SPOT a FALSE LEADER?

False leadership is not as easily spotted as most would like. They are able to use a lot of social camouflage, but when it comes right down to it, they’re still a leopard that can’t change his spots. Tell tale signs of false leadership are like trying to figure out which car salesman is the best. Fact is, you don’t want to go with the BEST car salesman. They’re the best because they sell the most cars and have the highest profit margins for their sales. The last thing they’re actually doing is looking out for you. Sure, you’ll feel like they were looking out for you and you’ll even believe you had some sort of connection with them. But, when it comes down to it, they’re there to make money and YOU are how they do that.

Look for charisma first, then scratch the paint on actual depth of work. False leaders wield charisma and charm as their two biggest weapons. They’re used to getting what they want by simply talking people into it. In fact, this is what makes them a GOOD leader in many other aspects. They understand motivation and how to influence people. They’ll ask you about your personal life. They may even have some sort of relatable and similar story from their own life. They’ll work hard to find common ground and then do small things to demonstrate their position of authority so you respond to it without even realizing it.

The real tell for a false leader their need for you to NOT seek outside influence. False leaders know that their hold over a group depends entirely on the groups lack of understanding of the greater whole. Many organizations take pride in “internal training” and “corporate developed promotional tools” and, often, these tools are quite helpful within specialized fields. But, when the position or promotion is related to internal leadership movement. It is often a clear cut way to maintain nepotism, cronyism and a strong hold of false leadership. The culture of false leadership is based around perception, rumors and appearance.


The biggest places false leaders reside are in organizations that are NOT output oriented. Service groups, civil service agencies and amateur sports organizations are ripe with false leaders. These are spots where poor, egotistical and narcissistic personalities can dig their feet in and create a culture based on serving their egos instead of serving their communities. Sure, the community around them will get help because it is important for them to look good. The reason they reside here is because they don’t actually need to provide a product, but rather keep a group (that is generally self managed) continuing their operations. False leaders seek out civil service, politics and amateur sports because it is an easy place to ascend with charisma and there is no real marker for whether or not they actually do any good. But, the internal politics that surround them are often toxic, dangerous and hurtful to honest and open people. Beware of crossing a false leader.

I wish you the best in finding and eradicating the false leaders from wherever you go.

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