So what exactly causes failure in leadership? This page will attempt to identify some of the issues that result in leadership failure. Although it is extremely important to know what to do when you are leading people, it is equally important to know what not to do. We have identified the 12 major causes of leadership failure. This is far from an exhaustive list; however, it encompasses all of the leading mistakes made by ineffective leaders. We feel that you will recognize many of the issues raised, however we think that you will find this section enlightening nonetheless.
Failure In Leadership Cause #1 - Inability To Organize Detail
Whenever a manager accepts either publicly, or to themselves that they are too occupied to give adequate attention to any aspect of their work, they are admitting their inability to do their job effectively.
Failure In Leadership Cause #2 - Unwillingness To Do What You Would Ask Another Person To Do
When the situation arises, and let me stress that this is only when the situation demands, the effective manager is always willing to perform the task that he or she would ask another person to do.
It is irrelevant that the manager may not be able to do the task as well as another person in their team/organization - if they are unwilling to try, it can be a cause of failure.
Failure In Leadership Cause #3 - Expectation Of Pay For What You Know Rather Than What You Do
It should be remembered that the world in pretty much every instance rewards people not for what they know, but rather for what the do. Managers are especially rewarded according to what they motivate others to do.
It is obviously incredibly useful to have an excellent education, acing all the exams and possessing a brain full of knowledge. However, it must be remembered that this is not what you are paid for. People get rewarded for what they do rather than what they know.
Failure In Leadership Cause #4 - Fear Of Competition From Others
Whatever we fear invariably happens. The manager who fears that one of his or her followers could take their position is almost certain to realize that fear sooner or later.
So many managers are afraid that their own position is under threat, that they try to hold back their subordinates rather than try to build them up in order to protect themselves. I'm sure you have heard of the expression; "You can't hold a good person down"!
Failure In Leadership Cause #5 - Lack Of Creative Thinking
Without creative thinking, the manager is unable to create plans and set goals with which to lead staff effectively. Creative thinking can also be termed as lateral thinking.
The blinkered manager will invariably miss opportunities and will fail to inspire his or her people.
Failure In Leadership Cause #6 - The "I" Syndrome
The manager who claims all the credit for all the accomplishments of his or her team is sure to be met with bitterness and rancour. The effective manager will claim none of the credit, but will see to it that, when there is any, it goes to the team.
Failure In Leadership Cause #7 - Over-Indulgence
In whatever form over-indulgence may be evident, it will almost certainly destroy the endurance and the vitality of the manager, and will cause a loss of respect from the team. Over-indulgence can be evident in many and varied forms, from alcohol abuse to womanizing!
Failure In Leadership Cause #8 - Disloyalty
Any manager who is not loyal to his or her colleagues, both above and below, will not maintain their leadership for very long.
A lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure and loss of respect in every walk of life. Loyalty is like respect - it is earned and can never be demanded.
Failure In Leadership Cause #9 - Emphasis Of The 'Authority Of Leadership'
An example of this failure in leadership might be; "If you don't do...I'll have you fired!" Successful managers lead by encouraging rather than by ingraining fear in their followers. History has shown that fear can be an effective short term form of leadership, but it never works in the long term.
A manager who uses fear as a tool of motivation will find that it is effective the first few times he or she uses it, but the power will diminish until his or her authority has been destroyed utterly.
Failure In Leadership Cause #10 - Emphasis Of Title
Some managers fall in love with their title and have it displayed prominently for all to see. Usually, a manager who makes too much of his or her title has little else to make very much of.
Failure In Leadership Cause #11 - A Lack Of Understanding Of The Destructive Effects Of A Negative Environment
It is unrealistic to believe that you can be a great leader, or motivational manager without a deep understanding of the extreme damage caused by a negative environment.
Failure In Leadership Cause #12 - A Lack Of Common Sense
Remember that extremes in all forms are dangerous and try to let common sense prevail in all situations.