These are the sycophants’ in your team and you must deal with them to be effective as a leader. Stop being a sycophant and if you are a leader discourage sycophancy around you.

We all want to be told good things and we enjoy flattery once in a while but a great leader must be able to know the sycophants in their team to be effective and efficient. I am certain you have come across many people who praise their leaders or powerful people when they deserve a rebuke just to get their approval.  A sycophant is a yes person who uses flattery to get what they want in an unethical manner and they are many in organizations and politics.

Sycophancy is simply self-seeking flattery and as a leader, be very careful of the type of people who overly praise you and are unwilling to tell you when you are naked. Sycophants undermine your dignity as a leader and are of little benefit to you. Be very afraid of the people around you who give you flavored comments to massage your ego.

A leader must understand that people who will make a difference in their organization, county, or country are those that don’t quite fit in. A great leader celebrates and encourages the independent thinkers in the team. Eugene Debs said he would rather a thousand times be a free soul in jail than be a sycophant and coward on the streets, with which I totally agree.

One of the major characteristics of a sycophant is that they accept everything and never says no. They take more than they can handle to please their boss which leads to unnecessary stress. Sycophants agree with everything the leader says to be liked and to win favor with the leader. They at times change their mind to agree with the leader even when they don’t agree on the inside.

Sychophants are poor time managers who never respect other people’s time, they pretend to be busy albeit doing nothing. Most sycophants are usually incompetent, always making mistakes but never owning up to the mistakes. Do you know anyone with the above characteristics? Are you one of them?

Leaders must deal with such kinds of people if the organizations, counties, or countries they lead have to thrive. To deal with sycophants remain alert and make them stick to facts. You must refuse to play their bootlicking games. However hard it may be, ignore their praise and flattery and instead focus on the issues at hand.

The book Dissecting The Heart of Leadership expounds on the different types of followers and how to handle them. Buy a copy today at  or call 0776045087.

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Dr. Mary Mugo
Strategy, Leadership, and Governance Consultant.

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