The 10 Major Causes of Failure in Leadership
It is just as essential to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. Here are the 10 major causes of failure in leadership:
1. Inability to organize details. Efficient leadership calls for ability to organize and to master details. No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do anything which may be required as a leader. When a leader of follower is “too busy” to change plans or give attention to any emergency, it is an indication of inefficiency. The successful leader must be the master of all details connected with the position. That means, of course, that the habit of delegating details to capable lieutenants must be acquired.
2. Unwillingness to render humble service. Truly great leaders are willing, when occasion demands, to perform any sort of labor that they would ask another to perform. “The greatest among ye shall be the servant of all” is a truth that all able leaders observe and respect.
3. Expectation of pay for what they “know” instead of what they do with what they know. The world does not pay for what people “know”. It pays them for what they do, or induce others to do.
4. Fear of competition from followers. The leader who fears that one of his followers may take his position is practically sure to realize that fear sooner or later. Able leaders train understudies to whom they may delegate at will. Only in this way may leaders multiply themselves and prepare to be at many places, and give attention to many things, at one time. It is an eternal truth that people receive more pay for their ability to get others to perform than they could possibly earn by their own efforts. Efficient leaders may, through knowledge of their jobs and the magnetism of their personalities, greatly increase the efficiency of others, and induce them to render more service and better service than they could by themselves.
5. Lack of imagination. Without imagination, leaders are incapable of meeting emergencies, and of creating plans by which to guide followers efficiently.
6. Selfishness. Leaders who claim all the honor for the work of their followers are sure to be met by resentment. Really great leaders claim none of the honors. They are content to see the honors go to their followers because they know that most people will work harder for commendation and recognition than they will for money alone.
7. Intemperance. Followers do not respect an intemperate leader. Moreover, intemperance in any of its various forms destroys the endurance and the vitality of all who indulge it.
8. Disloyalty. Perhaps this should have come at the head of the list. Leaders who are not loyal to their trust and to their associates – those above and below them – cannot long maintain their leadership. Disloyalty marks people as being less than the dust of the earth, and brings down on their head the contempt they deserve. Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.
9. Emphasis of the “authority” of leadership. Efficient leaders lead by encouraging, not by trying to instill fear in the hearts of their followers. Leaders who try to impress followers with their “authority” come within the category of leadership through force. Real leaders have no need to advertise that fact except by their conduct, sympathy, understanding, fairness and a demonstration of knowledge of the job.
10. Emphasis of title. Competent leaders require no “title” to gain the respect of their followers. Leaders who make too much of their title generally have little else to emphasize. The doors of the office of real leaders are open to all who wish to enter, and their working quarters are free from formality or ostentation.