The Dark Side of Leadership: 4 Reasons Leaders Fail

The very traits that make a leader strong can lead to their downfall if taken to extreme. Interestingly enough, even a leadership positive can turn into a leadership negative if it remains unchecked. There is a very fine line between successful leadership and failed leadership.

A study by the Centre for Creative Leadership reveals that nearly 40% of new chief executives fail dismally within first 18 months on their job. In fact, many executives fail to meet the expectations of their employers and managers and aren’t as successful as predicted.

In most of these cases, the leaders usually delivered prior remarkable performance. However, they still failed due to a variety of external and internal factors.

Let’s look at four common reasons that contribute to leadership failure:

1. Confuse Ego with Self-Confidence

While everyone loves a confident and strong leader, excessive confidence can translate into a surfeit of ego. A lot of leaders fall into the trap of ego, believing that they must always act like they are in control and have all the ideas and solutions to problems. This eventually could become a reason for failure.

Although leadership entails one to be smart and sharp-witted, it doesn’t mean that you do all the talking and put your ideas above others’. Seize every opportunity to listen. Encourage your team to put forward their suggestions and ideas. This would be a win-win situation. Not only will this allow you to grow and learn something new from your team members, it will also motivate your team to speak up and collaborate.

2. Follow an Excessively “Brittle” Approach

Consistency is generally a good thing, but leaders can go a little too overboard with it. Sometimes goals need to be amended and modified. A leader who is stuck on the original goals at all costs risks leadership failure. Ironically, this can reinforce the fear of failure and excessive avoidance of risk.

As a result, the organisation may end up doing an excellent job at achieving a goal that may be completely wrong or misguided. In contrast to that, great leaders demonstrate flexibility and modify their style or approach to leadership in response to uncertain or unpredictable circumstances. This doesn’t mean that they sacrifice goals or end intent – it just means they are always open to considering different paths to achieving them.

3. Stop Directing People

It is the leader’s responsibility to show people which way to go and motivate them to keep going until they reach the finish line. The moment they become content with the current state of their organization, they stop struggling and chasing after bigger goals.

So, set expectations and keep track of you team’s progress. Don’t lose vision of your goals and communicate them clearly to your team members while also holding them accountable for their performance and output. Lastly, make sure your team is driven so it delivers high-quality results.

4. Ignore the Need to Build Relationships

A lot of leaders focus on improving the team’s performance and meeting targets and goals, but miss out on growing one of the most critical leadership skills i.e. fostering relationships on trust within their group.

Leaders who ignore the value of establishing a good rapport with their employees pay an exorbitant price, often in the form of uncoordinated members, an unfruitful collaboration and an unattractive company culture. Learn to pay attention to your team members to create useful and long-lasting relationships. Also, use excellent interpersonal skills in order to motivate and engage them.

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Author: Paul Keijzer

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