Nit-Picking Know-It-All Leader: Are You One? | #LeadMorale #PeopleSkills

Are you a nit-picking know-it-all leader? Before you answer that, I’ll reword the question. Do you seem like that to those you lead or to your peers? Very few leaders intend to nit-pick. Unfortunately, those you lead may not feel comfortable telling you what you’re doing — unless you ask them how you come across. Therefore, this post gives you a way to self-assess if you are a nit-picking know-it-all leader.



Nit-Picking Know-It-All Leader: Image is magnifying glass on a carpet.

Are You a Nit-Picking Know-It-All Leader? Image by Ivy Dawned via Flickr Shared License.

Image by Ivy Dawned via Flickr Shared License.


Are You Sure You Are Not a Nit-Picking Know-It-All Leader?

If you ask leaders if they are nit-picking know-it-alls, they will likely say no, of course not! Ask others about them and they will say yes. Recently one of my blog readers messaged me about how to handle the boss who is always finding fault on little details but never says “great idea!” Picture yourself working for this leader. How would you feel?

Well that nit-picking know-it-all leader/boss is making the following classic leadership mistakes:



  1. Thinking only of the end result. Remember, you lead people — who create the end result. Don’t react to an employee’s idea with “but (little detail) won’t work” or “the problem with that is.” Instead, give feedback about the idea! For example, “Interesting idea Lee. Would you work up some of the details so we can see it more clearly?” Alternatively, you could say: “Interesting idea Lee. How will you/we handle (little detail)?”

  2. Always showing your knowledge so that the employees will know you are the leader. Doing this will definitely brand you as an insecure nit-picking know-it-all leader. Remember, your job as leader is to develop, nurture, and foster the performance of those you lead.


  3. Do You Love Talking About the Negatives?

  4. Skipping the positives. I remember running a session to increase morale in a company. Employees were responding well outlining what the teams were doing well. Suddenly the leader walks in, sees the list they created, and says, “Why are we wasting time on what we do well? Let’s get to what we need to fix.” Pop! He burst the high morale balloon. Leaders, please remember that people must live the positives to fix the negatives.



  5. Hovering to prevent all mistakes. Admittedly, if you think an employee is about to make a major mistake, stepping in with guidance is appropriate. However, when you constantly point out all possible mistakes in advance, you are telling the employees you don’t trust them or their skills. It’s time to ask yourself why you are doing this. If you can’t trust them, you can’t lead them.

  6. Leading others the way your leaders lead you. Get to know the people you lead. What inspires them? What do they need from you? They way your leaders lead you may not work for them.


Impact of Nit-Picking Know-It-All Leader Behavior

If you are still not convinced that the negative behaviors outlined above can hurt performance and end results, read this previous post of mine: 9 Benefits of Withholding Your Initial Negative Reaction. It will open your eyes to how your nit-picking know-it-all behavior is undermining morale, performance, and results.



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
6 Ways to Respond to Chronic Fault Finders
5 Leadership Questions to Revive Team Commitment

©2024 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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