POSITIVE LIVING: WHY DO LEADERS FAIL? PART 1
“The world is in need of good leaders!” This seems to be the lamentation these days. The more one listens to or reads the various forms of media, locally, regionally and internationally, the more perplexing the problems become. All too often leaders seem to forget the reasons why they were chosen. They were selected to represent the interests of the people, group or organisation. It is their bounden duty to use the resources of the land to impact the life of every citizen. So why are so many of them failing?
There is perhaps no better time than now to bring to the fore some of the factors that contribute to leadership failure, according to research findings.
A wrong conception of what leadership is all about. Leadership is about having a vision and communicating that vision clearly. It is also about motivating people to fulfill that vision. Leaders need to understand that:
? People want to be led, inspired and challenged and not just managed.
? People want to be shown what to do instead of what not to do.
? People want motivation and vision from leadership.
A refusal to change. Some leaders are happy and content with the status quo. However, they need to understand that without growth the organization will die. Good leaders constantly seek out new opportunities, new relationships, new coalitions that will help them grow as leaders and as persons. Bad leaders refuse to listen, grow jealous of others’ expertise, and guard their reputations so strongly that they can’t ever admit they don’t know everything.
A breach of trust. It is unwise to make promises you cannot fulfill. Once people lose trust in you it is very difficult to regain their trust. Do not promise if you don’t intend to deliver.
Failure to look ahead. Leaders must be visionary. They need to see and plan way ahead into the future. They should never be short-sighted.
A shift in focus. Often, leaders simply lose sight of what is important. They become distracted by the trappings of leadership such as wealth and notoriety.
Poor professional advice: Sometimes leaders fail to seek out competent people to provide them with advice.
Toxic culture: Nothing stifles productivity and creates conflict like a toxic culture.
No innovation: Leaders kill innovation instead of creating it. Leaders who don’t openly embrace change will be doomed by their antiquated outlook.
Lack of character: If things are not done for the right reasons, leaders will fail. Leaders who don’t display character will not attract it or retain it in others. Leaders who fail to demonstrate a constancy of character will not create trust, neither engender confidence nor create loyalty.
Flawed strategy: A flawed strategy will simply reveal weak leadership. A company or organization with a flawed strategy will always expose an inept leader.
Failure to deflect praise. Good leaders always give praise away rather than give it to themselves.
Lacks training in the right skill set. Leaders need many different competencies to master the discipline of leadership. People need to learn how to lead well, and must have the skills and motivations needed to accomplish the necessary tasks. The leader only succeeds when the people succeed.
The inability to attract and retain talent. Great leaders surround themselves with great talent. They understand that talent begets more talent. If your company doesn’t possess the talent it needs to achieve its business objectives, no one is to blame but leadership.
Competitive awareness. It is the leader’s responsibility to understand the competitive landscape and navigate it successfully. If a company is not consistently winning, it is not what the competition is doing, but rather poor leadership that creates the inability to compete.
Ignoring the need to build relationships. Leading is all about relationships, growing trust, building teams and utilizing excellent interpersonal skills. Leaders pay a high price for ignoring the important process of building healthy relationships. To create these relationships, leaders need to pay attention to their teams, keep learning and never assume anything.
Failure to listen. Some leaders tend to think they have, or need to act like they have, all the answers when they do not. They need to admit it and learn to listen to others who can provide them. Leaders who cannot relate will not listen to others. Leaders who cannot relate will not build relationships with others. Leaders who cannot relate will never value others. Relationships will either make or break a leader. Too often leaders miss or forget this lesson until it is too late.
Leaders become selfish. Leaders who have responsibilities seem to forget that they are there to support their team instead of themselves. They become power hungry and seek control instead of giving advice, mentoring and ensuring that the team benefits from their leadership.
Leaders stop navigating the team. Leaders need to have clear visions and goals to make sure that everyone is constantly delivering high quality results and that the overall company or organisation is benefiting. Leaders have to set expectations, keep track of everyone’s progress and hold themselves accountable.
Leaders refuse to adapt. Leaders must understand that they will always have to change how they lead based on how their work and organisation are changing. If the organisation is headed in a new direction, or if the leader has new team members, he or she needs to adapt his or her leadership style to that new environment. If the leader fails to do that, then it is going to be hard to align the group to what the organisation is doing.
Leaders, as you consider these warning signs of leadership failure, don’t be afraid to take an honest inward look. If any of the warnings ring true, take action today! The good news is by paying attention to these signs and heeding their warnings, you can avoid disaster and sustain the kind of leadership that is healthy and fulfilling both for yourself and your followers.
Remember, businesses or organisations don’t fail – it is the leaders who do.
About the Author: Mrs. Marilyn Hodge owns and operates the Wellness Centre in the Farrington, Anguilla. The Centre offers Counselling Services by Appointment Only and has now published Positive Living Volume 2. Contact information: 476-3517 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.