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Blog: Top Ways to Ensure Leadership Failure

ID 10089789

What causes a leader to fail?

The truth is, there are many things that cause failure at all levels of leadership. There is not a specific “formula” for leadership failure, just as there is not a specific “formula” for leadership success. There are however, actions or behaviors that drive a leader toward the path of success or failure.

Below is a list, in no particular order, of our observations as well as feedback we have received over the years from leaders we have coached. It is usually several of these actions, behaviors, or mind-sets combined that lead to leadership failure.

  1. Demonstrates arrogance or hubris
  2. Has poor listening skills
  3. Is not open to other’s opinions or ideas
  4. Takes credit for other’s opinions or ideas
  5. Asks for other's opinions and ideas but does not do anything with the information
  6. Withholds praise or feedback
  7. Gives too much praise and feedback
  8. Leads or manages everyone the same way (FYI different people are motivated and encouraged by different things)
  9. Does not ask for feedback on their leadership or management
  10. Cannot see the forest for the trees
  11. Cannot see the trees for the forest
  12. "Sucking up"
  13. Demonstrates chosen ignorance
  14. Displays a lack of integrity
  15. Is inconsistent or unpredictable in their actions or behaviors
  16. Acts from a lack of passion or drive
  17. Shows a lack of vision
  18. Is always working in overdrive due to too much passion
  19. Has no accountability for their actions or behaviors
  20. Does not hold other accountable for their actions or behaviors
  21. Does not ask thought provoking or clarifying questions
  22. Solves everything. Does not give the opportunity for others to critically think or problem solve on their own
  23. Has a “do what I say not what I do” attitude
  24. Demonstrates a lack of collaboration or consensus building
  25. Does not value thoughts, ideas, or styles that are different from their own
  26. Does not see the value in strengths they do not understand or use themselves
  27. Is inaccessible
  28. Plays favorites
  29. Does not develop or promote leadership opportunities in others
  30. Is not well connected or respected internally and/or externally
  31. Doesn't know how or when to have fun
  32. Doesn't know when to be driven or serious
  33. Has an unbalanced approach to life
  34. Doesn't create a safe learning environment
  35. Doesn't know when to lead, when to supervise or when to manage

We would appreciate hearing from you.

Have you experienced a leader with any of these traits? Do you struggle with any of these traits in your own leadership? If so, how did you or are you working through the situation for yourself or with others? Is there anything you would add to this list?


Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic

MSBCoach is committed to partnering with leaders and teams to identify their True North.  One's true north includes living into your values, identifying what it means to you to be your authentic self, and practicing emotional intelligence.  Leadership, executive, and team coaching are effective ways to help leaders and their teams put these principles into practice.  We also offer engaging workshops in being an authentic leader, emotional intelligence, identifying your values, and many others.  You can check out our coaching processes and our list of workshops here.


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