Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

  • Orrin’s Latest Book

  • 7 Day Free Access to Leadership Audios!

  • Email Me

  • NY Times Bestselling Book

  • Mental Fitness Challenge

  • Email Subscription

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,445 other subscribers

  • Categories

  • Archives

Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Leadership?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 21, 2013

While doing some research, I ran across this article from Christianity Today on the “Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Leadership.” The list was so good that I had to post it here and share a few thoughts. For instance, everyone can read this list and realize the futility of attempting to lead when violating these principles; however, understanding and applying are not one and the same thing. One of the key objectives of the LIFE business is to break through from mental assent to physical application of the top leadership principles. Associating with other leaders who are applying the proper principles makes it easier for others to do the same. Imagine if a whole community were to apply leadership to the 8Fs of life. I believe it would start a LeaderShift to change our localities, states, provinces, nations, and eventually the world. If it’s possible to do this, then leaders ought to plan, unite, and aim to do it! In any case, all leadership change begins on the inside. Read the seven ineffective traits and ensure this list isn’t true of you.


Orrin Woodward

1 – Don’t plan ahead

Don’t fall into the trap of writing down your goals and objectives, or even worse, handcuffing yourself to specific times when you’re supposed to feel obligated to do them. Instead, respond to things as they come up. Put off big projects until you have large chunks of uninterrupted time to accomplish them, or when you feel inspired. Then try to complete the task with one herculean effort.

2 – Go it alone

If you need to have someone checking up on you, it’s a sure sign of your incompetence and lack of self-control. Independent-minded people make the most progress when they bypass the team and do their own thing. Accountability is overrated.

3 – Aim low

Only arrogant people set lofty goals. Those who dream big often end up flat on their face. At the end of the day, it’s much better to aim for mediocrity and reach your goal rather than trying to do something extraordinary, and becoming frustrated when you can’t quite accomplish it. Better safe than sorry. Those who risk the most never experience the security of living in the status quo.

4 – Point out the mistakes of others

People need to be aware of their failures or they’ll never be able to change. So, keep an eye out for others’ missteps or mishaps and then leak the word to the rest of your employees or volunteers. Be specific and stern. Don’t give the person a chance to explain his actions since that’s usually just a way of denial or shirking responsibility. It’s even more beneficial to make the shortcomings of others public, so that other people in the organization can keep them in line.

5 – Mentally relive old failures

If you lost a job or got a demotion or didn’t get the position you were vying for, brood over it. Dwelling on past mistakes, unresolved conflict, and ongoing disagreements will help give you perspective on your current situation. Obsessing over negative experiences helps you avoid them in the future.

Get into the habit of thinking about hurtful conversations you’ve had and coming up with things you wish you’d said, or clever comebacks that might’ve ended things right then and there. It’ll give you that fire and motivation to speak up more authoritatively next time around.

6 – Wait until the last minute

You never know what the future holds so why waste your time doing things that might not even end up being necessary? Who knows, you might get fired, quit, or die and you’d just have wasted all of that time on that project. It’s much more beneficial if you just put off working on something until the consequences of not doing it outweigh the effort it takes to do it. If other people hassle you about this, it just shows that they’re not as good at working under pressure as you are.

7 – Take things personally

If people criticize your work, they are, in essence, attacking you. Criticism of a project you’ve worked on is a direct assault on your intelligence, personality, and character. As a matter of self-respect, it’s important that you don’t let them get away with that. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you might come across as a pushover.

So, show your strength and conviction by defending every idea you have. Rather than “choosing your battles,” remember that if someone criticizes your decisions, actions, or suggestions, they’ve already chosen to attack your personal self-worth. Don’t let them get away with that.


67 Responses to “Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Leadership?”

  1. Michael Hartmann said

    What an amazing list! If it weren’t such a true symptom of our fallen human condition, it’d almost be comical! Rather, it’s actually quite sad b/c so many live their lives this way without ever realizing it. Thank you for taking a stand to fight these self-destructive tendencies!

  2. We laughed out load as we read thru the list. It’s so funny because before being introduced to LIFE, that is how I behaved. Sure am glad we were showed the plan, who knows where we would be right now. Most likely NOT striving towards living the life we’ve always wanted to live. Thanks Orrin and The LIFE Team.

  3. Matt Livermore said

    These 7 points are hilarious! This post reminded me of the Captain Obvious cd from Team. I can picture this being used in an LLR cd to teach the 7 habits from a humorous standpoint.

  4. Ouch! I can honestly say I lived those 7 habits. Thankfully through years of being associated with this organization and learning from the information those 7 habits are disappearing in my life!

  5. Matt Mielke said

    Great post Orrin. It doesn’t matter what circle your in, success principles are the same. Thanks for helping me see LIFE more clearly.

  6. James Green said

    This is a great article! The real key to this article lies more in the framing of the seven habits than in the seven habits themselves. Practical application is the true measure of what one has learned not the recital of words, concepts and theories. If only more people were encouraged to learn and apply the correct leadership principles this world would be a better place!

  7. Excellent! It truly doesn’t make any sense when we fail to follow the principles of success. Even if we’re not thinking intentionally on these points of highly ineffective leadership we do them most of the time naturally with out even thinking, we are creatures of habit. Thank you for this perspective Orrin! LTIT!!

  8. Peggi Kern said

    Thanks for sharing the article Orrin. Although I’d like to say I don’t violate any of these leadership principles, you’re right when you say that knowing and applying are very different. When I read the ineffective habits of a leader, I thought “ouch” a few times. Thank you for providing the environment to strive for excellence.

  9. Wendi Witkowski Team Liberators said

    Great blog Orrin! The LIFE subscription’s are such a big part of helping people grow and I’m so thankful for them.

  10. *GULP*

    I’m currently smiling from ear to ear right now, Orrin because I think I have chiefly violated all 7 of these ineffective habits, created a habit of doing so, and then deceived myself of even doing them! WOW!

    My mentor has me currently reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People right now by Stephen Covey as of a few days ago, and to read this article after beginning that project sheds a very strong UV Spotlight on what areas I need to address, change and grow. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!

    Do you think you could write a counter response to these 7 responses for someone like myself who may have violated those to a TEE who is looking to study a way t NOT do those habits and to create its’ opposing habits? I believe the answers are to do the exact opposite of what you said, but you have the ability to word things that can paint the clearest picture! (A word can paint a thousand pictures) And this is such a wide spread issue which I have seen among myself and among others that I’m wondering how Mr Orrin Woodward would put words to counter 7 Habits of Highly INEFFECTIVE Leadership.

    Thanks for all that you do and who you are, Orrin!!!

    Honor. Valor. Humility.
    Today’s The Day!!!

  11. Thank you for sharing this post. These are such true statements that really affect our ability to reach our highest potential. The lack of planning and taking things personally create an inability to see the broader picture which doesn’t some of us to accept invaluble feedback. Success is always planned and only through failures can we get better. Thank you for all that you give.

  12. chris volkmann said

    Thanks for another awesome blog. It is so true how right on those seven points for 95% of the world. Sometimes I find myself falling back on them but then pdca to not be that way.

  13. Candace and Steve Brown said

    Definitely convicting put in a different perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Marty Becker said


    Wow! Number 5 has always been a personal challenge. I love your chapter in “Resolved” about visualizing when you were quoting from Dr. Maltz. It’s very true that when you are constantly reviewing in your mind the negative past or what you don’t want to happen, you literally set yourself up and create the conditions to make that very scenario happen. Great article!

    Thank you,

    Marty Becker AOJ1

  15. Cat said

    This is so true, I am currently working in the healthcare industry. I am ashamed to say I see this all to often from supervisors,and peers and have experienced. Due to this Leadership Business I am getting better at re framing it for a better purpose and to plant seeds of change. Just want to say thank you and the PC council for developing leadership! You have brought back wonderful childhood memories of grandfather who was an amazing leader yet for some reason outside influences I didn’t get it at the time but I am starting to get it now.

  16. Jenn said

    Awesome article !!!!!

  17. Yitz Weiss said

    Funny how when the principles are presented as they are here in a “negative” fashion, how simple it is to see the importance of doing the right thing! My son just finished reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens – he’ll LOVE this article!

    Thanks for the post Orrin!


    • J & P Harteis said

      You’re right about that, Yitz! Your son is being shown the right example with what you’re teaching him & modeling to him with your activity! We need to be ever so thankful for the environment of the folks in LIFE & Team, where these 7 “ineffective habits” aren’t allowed in! And thank you, Orrin, for this post — it sure allows us to visually & mentally see how these traits are really messing up with our culture! Thank you for giving us the answers to what ails us!

  18. Daniel Pinkelman said


    It didn’t take much of an effort towards transparency to see that there are situations in my life when these describe me. It is awareness of these in my life that is helping me to change these patterns. As always, thanks for speaking & sharing the wisdom He has given you.

    Dan Pinkelman

  19. Bob Rasmussen said

    Sadly this certainly seems to be the norm out there doesn’t it? On the bright side, the LIFE BUSINESS self directed education system turns this around for us all if we want it!! I can’t wait to see what happens when millions are doing better. God Bless

  20. Edwyn said

    I like number six! Lol!

  21. Will Smitrh said

    This is so me right now, the great news is I have already began the changes so i will be reading these everyday this way i can start filling all of these voids in my life. I really thank you for putting these up here and giving me a reality check. Will Smith

  22. Anthony Nieto said

    Now that was a great way for us to choose if we want to be effective or ineffective. That was so relatable to everyday choices. We really have all the power to choose. Your time and thoughts are valuable Orrin, thanks again.

  23. John Burns said

    Wow, looks like he advice I used to get from my miserable and broke friends at work! They have results though, they’ve all reached the top level in the latest shooting video game 🙂

  24. Chad Waters said

    Great Blog Orrin

    Can’t wait for the new book!

  25. Jonathan Fowler said

    Wow!! What a way to start my day…by reading such an inspiring message. Thank you so much Orrin for blazing the trail ahead. It’s funny that I can’t help but to relate to these habits to everyday interactions with people I call friends and colleagues. As I think about those I most closely associate with (outside of TEAM and LIFE mind you) a number of those habits are so prevalent. Most noteworthy are “Aim low, Go it alone, and Point out the mistakes of others”. As if the everyday rigors of life aren’t enough to beat even the toughest man down, the constant volley of attacks from those all around us will surely finish the job. I can’t remember a single day at work when someone doesn’t make a comment about past mistakes, or how it’s pointless to dream and you just need to be realistic. Well I’m sorry, but after being around the men and women of TEAM I have a big stinking DREAM…and together with a group of like-minded individuals there is no way our DREAMS will go unrealized!!! Thank you Orrin for having the courage and conviction of character to stand up to mediocrity and reignite hope in this country once again. God bless you!!

  26. Terry said

    Love it, resembles a skit we did years ago at a meeting.
    With these simple steps, I can become one of the top non-achievers in history!! 🙂


  27. Jeff Darling said

    Thanks for this great post Orrin! Brought back memories of my “Corporate” days, as my last boss there was right on target with at least 5 of the 7. What an awesome environment we have with the “LIFE Community”! We get to invite people into a culture that offers principle based LEADERSHIP at every turn; through Association, CD’s, Books, Videos, Websites, Social Media (like this Blog) and Events! WOW, the only missing ingredient is our decision to delve into the Info and apply it in our lives, and then be the role model for others to follow. Thanks for such great Information!!

  28. Matt Miller said

    wow its like going back to pre/team reading that list, Thanks to a Friend that did what all of us should do and that is gently nudging them with a new perspective on how 7 habits of highly effectiveness really is, We are in this with you Orrin. Matt Miller /Team Courageous Transformers

  29. Rita Haas said

    You’re right! There is a gap between mental knowledge and physical application. I thrive on repetition. Consistency in reading everyday and listening to CDs by people with success thinking are just what I need to bridge the gap.

  30. Jerry & Polly said

    I guess what you’re really saying is that teams fail when the leader neglects his duties.
    Thanks for the reminder….

  31. MARIO VEGA said


  32. Jessica Dehn said

    I always find it entertaining when points are made this way and it really puts it into perspective how ridiculous wrong thinking can sound when phrased like this- especially number five!

  33. Ted Hewing, Jr. said

    That hit home so well I had to stop reading it! I’ll finish when my chest stop hurting. You’re doing a great work Orrin! Thanks!

  34. Understanding and appling is not one and the same…

    I am discovering the difference between the two.

    Thanks Leaders!

  35. David Madden said

    Thanks for a great post Orrin. At one time or another I have been guilty of these, however I’m improving. Personally, I have found that reading The Magic of Thinking Big helps.

  36. Very eye opening…I totally agree on importance of checking ourselves in these areas. Thanks!

  37. Tammy Darling said

    Thank God for our awesome Life business! Just more reasons to share LIFE!! 🙂
    Thanks Orrin!

  38. Beth said

    wow, Orrin, I thank God for you and the whole Team for not only striving for excellence in all the 8 F’s, but for setting the example for us to follow!!!Praise God for your willingness to stand for Truth and your desire to develop leaders, so that we in turn can change our families, communities…yes our nation and world!!!May we all choose to keep going and choosing life…4 LIFE!!!

  39. As always, an incredible, timely post! Thanks Orrin!

  40. Ken Hendon said

    Let’s hope and pray that these 7 Habits don’t become the new American way.

  41. Kevin Hamm said

    Great post Orrin,

    Interesting how thinking about the needs of others counters nearly every aspect of the above seven traits. Maybe there is something to that servant leadership idea. 🙂

  42. Barb Bartel said

    Wow! How many of us need to change some of these habits! We have to aim high, dream big and take responsibility for ourselves, lead by example and turn the tide of mediocrity and apathy that is so apparent in today’s culture.

  43. Christine Fleury said

    Wow. So easy to slip into but sounds so blatantly ridiculous when you look at it that way. Thanks for posting this to help us see when we fall into those pitfalls!
    God bless,

  44. John Graff said

    Wow and ouch!!!
    I can laugh and pass it off, or I can take a hard look in the mirror and recognize at least some truth in each one of these 7 (particularly #5), and resolve to move forward with yet another new perspective on my thinking. Thanks Orrin.

    • Kevin Hamm said

      I’m with you on #5 John. That self talk is persistent, but that Top 50 pack 4 will do wonders against past failures. What a blessing to be connected to this system. Thanks for sharing John.

      • Jammie Fisher said

        Past Failures – as far as a weed, I think it is as tough as a thistle. I have seen you both serve beyond what many would, and study the system like crazy: that intentionality toward pulling this weed and it doesn’t stand a chance.

        Thanks for sharing guys and thanks for your post, Orrin. I too am pulling this one and focusing forward!

  45. Dean said

    Great simple reminders, thanks Orrin!

  46. Important information! Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, Wayne MacNamara, and Tim Marks have such great blogs! I love the information being taught in the LIFE business. Thank you!

  47. robert wilcox said

    This may sound funny but I think I started getting dizzy and crosseyed from reading this! I need a twitch tack or need a good head jerk like Claude Hamilton did on stage at a Major. Great information to live by! Thank you Orrin.

  48. Elaine Mallios said

    When I first read this, I thought you had gone off your rocker! Now I see how it is meant. Great points.

  49. Dean Strube said

    Amazing how many of those I practiced on a regular basis before being introduced to the life business

  50. Ken Hendon said


    You and Oliver just completed the power player call and I’m praying that it is recorded. My wife Joan, and I, feel so privileged to have listen in on this discussion. We listened with our mouths open to two best selling authors recalling how LEADERSHIFT was birthed. I have chills knowing how you and Oliver came together and how your talents and resources have merged in this book, this movement!

    I believe we are in the midst of the salvation of this century. Salvation is the right word, for without LEADERSHIFT not just our economic and political freedoms are in dire straights but our moral foundations are also certain to crumble.

    We cannot express our thanks to you and Oliver strongly enough, but even more, we must thank God for putting us all in the right place and the right time.


  51. Excellent way to check yourself!! Thanks Orrin for all the knowledge to help all of us in our leadership journey.

  52. Nancy Crumback said

    THANKS,ORRIN! Easy to understand, not so easy to apply! Yikes! May I use this list with HS leadership students if I give you credit? It’s critical that in order for a Leadershift to happen, our youth “get this”, too!!

  53. Mike Samuelson said

    OUCH! The truth can hurt sometimes, and reading some of these did. Definately participated in a couple of these in the past. Through the Life Business I’m proud to say that I have made a big course correction which has led me to much Better information.

  54. Nancy Pope said

    another great article!! thank you Orrin Woodward!

  55. Lisa Elliott said

    Great post.

  56. Jim Martin said

    When we see what not to do, and that we are already doing what we shouldn’t do, we can do what we need to do! Thanks Orrin for this perspective


  57. Ali Staneart said

    Funny post Orrin!

  58. Michele Campbell said

    I love the perspective in this post. Great for people that need the answer to why it’s a bad idea to keep these habits and don’t see anything wrong with them.

  59. John Yoder said

    hmmmm. That may have been a paper I had wrote when I was in college lol. Thanks so much for pointing out on paper just how ridiculous our own fleshly thoughts really are.

  60. Adam Gonzales said

    I lived the first 30 years of my life by these habits, thank you Orrin for putting together an opportunity that encourages men like me to change our habits!
    Thank You

  61. Kim Decker said

    It kind of funny but most of us are (or were) like this as that is all we knew. Everyone around is the same cry, blame and do nothing folks. Without you and the policy council we would not know any better today so thank you all for the changes you have made in so many lives across the world.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.