Communicating as a Leader

Why Leaders Fail

Rebecca Osborn asked:

In the recent past, the world has witnessed the fall of great leaders in religion, politics, business and sports. One day they are admired and supported and the next day they are ridiculed and abandoned. Of course you as a leader would like to think that that would never happen to you, your organisation, your business or your family. Yet the truth is that previous great leaders of the past were human just like you and me.

Listed are 4 warning signs you can look out for that can lead to failure as a leader.

1. Shift of Focus. Leaders by nature are driven and motivated. These are great qualities but failure occurs when a leader looses site of what is important. This can happen very easily. Maybe they get caught up in micro managing every area of the organisation and they get consumed with the trivial and unimportant aspects of the business. This tendency can be worsened because by nature, many leaders like to do things well, border line perfectionism. If a leader is trying to manage all aspects of the business and lead at the same time, they are sure to get side tracked from the long term goals.

Action Step: Take the time today to realign your focus. Reread your business plan or goals and refocus on what is important.

2. Poor Communication. Followers cannot follow somebody that is unsure of where they are going. When a leader looses site of the main focus, they lose site of where they are going. Effective communication is so much easier when you know what you actually want to say.

Action Step: Be absolutely clear about what you want to convey to your followers or core team in the area you are in leadership.

3. Poor Self Management. While leadership is great, it can be tiring, draining and exhausting. Most people will not pick up on signs of exhaustion in a leader. As a leader, it is vital that you take care of yourself emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.

Action Step: When you feel you are stressed or running on empty in any area, take time out for yourself to be refreshed and refuelled.

4. Driven by fear of failure. Being driven is a quality every leader needs, but what drives you is what is important. If the desire to succeed is what is driving you, then you will willingly take risks. But when fear of failure is the driving force, it makes risk taking so much more difficult.

Action Step: Take a good honest look at what you are driven by. Great leaders are never afraid to take a risk.

As you consider these four warning signs of leadership failure, do not be afraid to take an honest look at yourself. If any of the warnings ring true, take action today! The good news is that by paying attention to these signs and heeding their warnings, you can avoid disaster and sustain the kind of leadership that is healthy and fulfilling both for yourself and your followers.


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