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An Unethical Leader: Ten Easy Ways to Hook that Crook – Nu Leadership Series

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“Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.”
Lao Tzu

Why are we seeing so many bad leaders today? Did they all break out of “bad boy” jail? We will expose the threats of a corrupt leader in an organization. It’s a very destructive story. Did you see the movie Training Day? It was a shocker to many people to see Denzel Washington (an American icon) as a nasty desperado. What would his mother think? Well, Denzel won an Oscar for Best Actor in 2002 for his “out of character” role. In Training Day, Jake Hoyt is an ambitious, young cop assigned to a LAPD veteran narcotics detective, Alonzo Harris (Denzel). Hoyt feels the way to achieve his goals is following this leader, Alonzo. Alonzo, however, is a crooked cop and a student of the “Seven Deadly Sins.” According to Warren (religious expert) the phrase “Seven Deadly Sins” is related to Roman Catholic folklore and church tradition; some sins were personally deemed to ruin a Christian spiritual progress. The list consisted of pride, avarice (greed), envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and slothfulness. These attributes are not good leadership qualities. It only takes one bad leader to destroy the core values of an organization. Here are some ways to identify an unethical leader:

This unethical leader…

1. Leads with a bad attitude.
2. Lies to his followers and peers.
3. Takes advantage of people.
4. Takes personal credit for group accomplishments.
5. Uses politics to gain power in an amoral manner.
6. Does not focus on the common good of the organization.
7. Does not support his followers.
8. Displays a “double tongued” behavior.
9. Sacrifices his followers for personal gain.
10. Fails to model the way for followers.

Without any controls or limits, a bad leader can ruin your organization. Getting back to the Training Day example, Hoyt should have exercised better judgment when he first determined that Alonzo, his designated mentor, was an evil person. People, especially leaders, need to pick their friends and associates carefully. Therefore, it’s important that leaders aligned themselves with the right people. Are you associated with an unethical leader? Will it damage your leadership influence in your organization? Leader, beware! Start today!


Training Day DVD Review (2005). Received on November 6, 2005 from

Warren, T. (2005). What are the Seven Deadly Sins, and is this Biblical? Received on November 6, 2005 from

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green

Daryl D. Green has published over 100 articles in the field of decision-making (personal and organizational), leadership, and organizational behavior. Mr. Green is also the author of two acclaimed books, Awakening the Talents Within and My Cup Runneth Over. He is a columnist, lecturer, professor, and management consultant. Mr. Green has a BS in engineering and a MA in organizational management. Currently, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in strategic leadership. For more information,visit his website at


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  • Posted On December 8, 2006
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