No one sets out to be a self-serving leader. However, bad habits and tendencies can creep up over the years. You might start off inspired and wanting to build up others, but you may end up more focused on yourself and your agenda.

Self-serving leaders are easy to spot. Rather than helping their team and organization grow, they are driven by selfish ambition. They want more recognition. They often focus on quantity rather than quality. Self-serving leaders take credit when things go well and place blame when things don’t go as planned.

Just as no one wants to be a self-serving leader, no one wants to work for one, either. If you lead a team, it’s critical to remember your mission. Lolly Daskal, founder of Lead From Within, encourages leaders to be on guard against some leadership red flags. We share what to watch for in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Arguing. Do tensions run high with you and your team members? This could be a sign that you are more focused on your own viewpoint than listening to other perspectives.

Absence. If you’re not fully present during conversations, you’re not doing your team any favors. Your employees need you to hear them. When you are speaking with them, put your phone away and give them your undivided attention. Let them know you are available and accessible, says Daskal.

Defensiveness. The best leaders stand up for their team, regardless of the outcome. Stay mindful of how you act when things go awry. If you are only defending yourself instead of protecting your team, you’re likely working against those you are supposed to be leading, Daskal notes.

Boasting. Another sure sign of a self-serving leader is boastfulness. If you are only interested in building yourself up, you’re letting your employees down. Instead, Daskal says it’s important to spotlight your team members instead of yourself.

Rudeness. Don’t be the kind of leader who interrupts others or doesn’t allow room for other views. Talk less and listen more, recommends Daskal.

Competitiveness. In some situations, competition can fuel a team. However, competition should never exist between a boss and an employee. Remember that your team members are on your side, says Daskal. Don’t compete against them but seek to elevate their performance.

Jealousy. Leaders should never envy their employees’ success. At its core, leadership is taking pleasure in others’ success, says Daskal. Be sure to genuinely celebrate and recognize your team’s victories.

Ego. Leaders on an ego trip crave constant attention—and this can damage their ability to lead well. Daskal advises leaders to dedicate their energy to helping others be successful. Aim to be known as a leader who serves others rather than yourself, she says.

Self-awareness is important for all professionals, but especially for leaders. Pay attention if you notice the behaviors above. Whether you find yourself competing with your team members or you are always in defense mode, take steps to change your mindset and approach. A self-serving leader can not only damage their career but infect their entire team.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lolly Daskal is founder of Lead from Within, a global leadership, executive coaching and consulting firm. The Huffington Post called Daskal, “One of the most inspiring women in the world.”