Leadership Zombie Apocalypse! Four Signs You May Be Infected

Organizations around the world are reporting their leaders are turning into zombies at an alarming rate. Formerly healthy, productive, and capable leaders are falling victim to the Zombie Plague, the deadly disease that has spread uncontrollably during the global economic recession the past three years.

Leadership development experts recommend that leaders be on alert for the symptoms listed below. If any of these are present in your current leadership practices, please consult a professional immediately.

1. You’re running on autopilot – Zombie’s are empty vessels with no willpower or mind of their own. They wander about aimlessly with no clear purpose other than to satisfy their basic needs for survival (mainly terrorizing and eating humans!). Zombie leaders have become complacent and stopped investing in their own growth and learning. They do the minimum amount of work required to keep the ship afloat and they’ve stopped pushing the boundaries to innovate and adapt to new realities in the marketplace. If you’re content with doing the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, you might be infected. Get it checked out.

2. You’re a doomsdayist – Healthy leaders are purveyors of hope and positive energy. They cast a compelling vision of the future that inspires their followers to commit to the goal, team, or organization. Zombie leaders tend to have a sense of doom and failure. They waste their energy focusing on all the reasons why something can’t be done rather than working to find new solutions. They’re often heard saying “Why change? That’s the way we’ve always done things around here.”

3. Your relationships are strained and difficult – Zombie leaders tend to have a low EQ (emotional quotient) that makes them ill-prepared to develop strong interpersonal relationships. They fail to build rapport with their followers, don’t collaborate well with colleagues, and have a low self-awareness about how they “show up” with other people. In fact, zombie leaders reading this right now probably fail to identify with any of these qualities and instead are muttering to themselves “I wish my boss was reading this article.”

4. You’re in a “trust-deficit” – Leaders infected with the zombie virus are notorious for breaking trust with their followers. Failing to follow through on commitments, taking credit for other people’s work, not “walking the talk,” and withholding recognition and praise from others are all ways that zombies erode trust. The low-trust relationships that zombie leaders have with their followers results in reduced productivity, gossiping, questioning of decisions, and low levels of employee morale and engagement.

Various remedies are available to prevent leaders from contracting the Zombie Plague or to treat those already infected. The therapy plan extends over the course of a leader’s lifetime and requires constant diligence to ensure the disease stays in remission. Treatments include ongoing learning and self-improvement, building trust in relationships, and adopting a servant-leader philosophy.

6 Comments on “Leadership Zombie Apocalypse! Four Signs You May Be Infected

  1. Randy,
    Some of the zombie leaders are terrorizing humans, too. They man not be eating human brains, but they are letting good ones rot. Fortunately for zombie leaders they can find life again. Picking any of the four items in your post will certainly bring life to zombie leaders.

    • Hi Shawn. You are absolutely right! Too many people are walking around like zombies and letting the talents go to waste. Hopefully they find the antidote soon!

      Take care,


  2. Pingback: Leadership Zombies Taking Over: You May Be One! « NC New Faith Communities

  3. The scary thing about contracting Zombie-ism is that is is such a gradual and often imperceptible process that you don’t realize you are contracting it until you already have it! It can then be a difficult process of becoming human again, but I think the four symptoms you discussed here provides a nice early warning mechanism to test yourself against on a regular basis.

  4. Stephan – You are so right! Leadership Zombie-ism can be one of those hidden viruses that lives in your body for years, slowly eating away at your leadership passion, when you suddenly wake up one day and realize that you’re a shell of what you once desired to be as a leader. That’s why we have to be “semper vigilans” – always vigilant!

    Thanks for the comments!


  5. Pingback: Leadership Zombies Taking Over: You May Be One! - New Faith Communities - NCCUMC

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