7 Important Reasons Leaders Fail

Whether you’re in a formal leadership role or not, if people are relying on you and you are responsible for their success, you’re serving as a leader – and that means experiencing all the highs and lows of leadership.

Generally, leaders want to do their best and maintain high standards of excellence for their customers, their people and the business overall!  They push themselves for the benefit of their team and put their own interests at the bottom of the list.

Those attitudes and mindsets are part of what makes people true leaders, not the self-serving, “me first”, non-authentic type.  It also puts them at a higher than average risk of failing.


There are seven important reasons why …


One: Focusing on being liked  

A need to be liked makes leadership a struggle. The best leaders understand that being liked is a side effect, not a goal. If they’re invested in their people and in helping them learn and grow in an atmosphere of respect and equality — as any leader should be — they will be liked.

Leaders who focus on being liked, on the other hand, are constantly changing direction in the hope of earning someone’s approval. In the end, they’re not effective as leaders – and they’re actually liked less than those who have their priorities in order.

Leadership is not about being liked; it’s about getting the job done while empowering those around you … and getting them fully “on board” to give all they’ve got to forward the “cause”.


Two: Taking on too much without delegating 

If you think you’re the only one who can get the job done right, you are doing a disservice to your own leadership – and to all the people who were hired to support you in your work.


When you take on too much without delegating you’ll end up feeling perpetually behind with no chance of catching up, and few situations are more exhausting.


Part of your role as a leader is helping your team take on more authority to build their own leadership skills. If you don’t delegate, you’re failing your team and yourself.  Effective leaders produce more leaders, not more followers!


Three: Deviating from what’s important  

If you’re the type of leader who says “yes” to everything, you’ll end up overloaded and unfocused. Learn instead to say “yes” only to the things that are important to your “mission” and “vision”.


Leadership is about getting things done and achieving results, so keep your focus on the things that directly or indirectly contribute to results and learn to say no to the rest.


It’s not possible to do this if your people don’t know your “mission” (i.e. the reason you, as an organisation, exist) … and your “vision” (i.e. where you’re going) ….


Four: Relying on consensus 

Leaders have to be able to make decisions independently and trust their own judgement. If you find yourself often waiting for people to agree with you or second-guessing yourself, you’re adding to your stress and detracting from your leadership.


Building a great team involves collaboration and trust … trust in you … trust in them – two of the key elements associated with creating a dynamic corporate culture. But consensus decision making isn’t appropriate or feasible in many situations, and that’s where leadership steps up.


Five: Getting caught up in your own importance  

Even good leaders can get caught up in their own hype – which actually means they’re caught up in their own ego. When you lead from your ego you undermine your effectiveness as a leader.


Stroking your own ego will never earn you anyone’s respect, and leadership should never be about pushing your own agenda, status and entitlement ahead of others affected by your actions.


Six: Failing to build trust

Earning and building trust are at the heart of leadership. If you fail to cultivate trust and respect as a leader, communication and team effectiveness immediately suffer – and it’s hard to make up losses in those areas. “I’ve been here for 20 years and am therefore entitled to all these privileges” doesn’t cut it any more in 2018.


Learn the problems that a lack of trust can cause in your team, and remember that resolving trust issues starts and ends with you.


Seven: Tending to “stick to the rules / compliance / governance” etc. instead of navigating intelligently around them  

If you find yourself constantly trying to fix whatever problem is in front of you instead of navigating long-term solutions, you’re going to keep spinning your wheels.


Great leaders avoid failing by empowering others to look for solutions while the leader navigates the way with them.


In short, if you want to avoid crashing and burning as a leader you need to reach beyond managing your role. You have to learn to lead yourself, the team and your department/organisation.



Next steps

We’ve put together an infographic which summarises these seven important reasons why leaders fail which you can download here. If you would like to book a free, no obligation leadership skills assessment email Sewells on tellmemore@sewells.com.

As an added incentive, anyone who contacts us before the end of June 2018 to book a leadership assessment session with us will also be entered into a prize draw to win 2 places at our next  “Working Miracles™ … with Performance” workshop (worth £3,990 + VAT) on 24th and 25th July 2018.

So by booking a leadership assessment session with us, at the very least you will learn where the gaps in your leadership skills may lie, and you could learn and benefit an awful lot more.

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