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Why Leaders Fail and How They Can Stop Making Unnecessary Mistakes

Why Leaders Fail and How They Can Stop Making Unnecessary Mistakes

Is it still possible to fall down as a leader when your CV suggests otherwise? The answer is ‘yes’ and there have been many public falls from grace to corroborate this.

Call them ‘slip ups’ or worse, ‘failures’, leaders are as susceptible to getting it wrong like anyone else and, human fallibility, is the reason; but there are other triggers that can prevent things spiralling out of control.

Leaders that fail to listen

When leaders become arrogant, they stop listening. They believe that their way is the right way and they adopt a deafness to the ideas of others. When we stop listening, we stop learning and slip into a dangerous ‘status quo’ which can quickly become outdated and less innovative.

Continuous development from talking to others is a crucial part to keep abreast of new ways of working, latest thinking and processes. Leaders that are prepared to take on board the ideas of others will fare better in the long-term.

Leaders that fail to be courageous

Leaders don’t usually slip up because they don’t know something, after all they can always lean on their top team to find out what they might be missing but they fail because they aren’t prepared to be brave in their conversations, attitudes or ability to swim against a tide that is going the other way.

True entrepreneurs and famous leaders have all shown considerable courage, taking risks when the odds have been stacked against them, being a driving force when everyone else says it won’t work or being bold enough to change direction or have one, or numerous difficult conversations.

Leaders that fail to change

Like the high-street, leaders that fail to change are destined to fail. It’s a big mistake to naively believe a leader is bigger than the company and that they are able to navigate anything as long as they have the right credentials.

Leaders that are prepared to change with the external environment and are not afraid to re-invent ways of working, processes and systems will shine through. There has never been a bigger test than now as we all change our businesses to cope with the challenges of COVID-19.

Those that have continued to tred the same path and, importantly those leaders that haven’t embraced technology will find their time at the top may come to an end sooner than they expected.

Leaders that fail to empower their staff

Management theorist, Simon Sinek says that leaders who make their employees feel secure, who draw their colleagues into a circle of trust will win over those that don’t.

Trust is the bedrock of many relationships and business alliances alike and leaders that can’t delegate or hand over responsibilities to their team, in turn fail to empower their employees.

Being watched over like ‘Big Brother’ will in time stir the waters of discontent and leaders that continuously do this will find their stellar talent heading for the door.

Leaders that fail to develop themselves

Leaders mustn’t forget that when they are going about the business of managing the development of others, that they don’t forget to develop and grow themselves.

Like anyone, leaders should never stop learning. Those that decide to stop nurturing their own self put themselves in danger of naively believing they know everything there is to know. An important lesson to learn is to be self-aware.

Leaders that can accept that they aren’t the best at everything and are prepared to take on board criticism and importantly act upon it will continue upon their path of learning. Coaching is a great way of helping leaders to see what their next steps could be.


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