Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Leaders Fail

  Why Leaders Fail
by Michael Diercks
Managing Partner, LMI
FAILURE!  It's every leader's greatest fear. Whatever the reason for a career fall, it's considered shameful and causes scarring.  Yet, nearly every leader trips as he or she moves along in life.  In a study of nearly 200 executives, virtually all had suffered "hardship experiences," from missed promotions or opportunities to firings and business failure.
What causes the problems - why DO leaders fail?  The prime reasons -- 

1. Unable to Get Along Poor interpersonal skills - relationships and communications - was the single largest reason for failure, and the most crucial flaw to recognize and remedy.  Leaders can't inspire and keep loyalty with their "underlings" because they aren't good listeners, don't give and take criticism well and view conflict as something bad instead of something that is inevitable that has to be handled to succeed.

2. Failure to Adapt  Times change  and those who don't change with them fail.  Clinging to a once-successful management style long after it stops producing results -- what worked in the 80's and 90's -- is another fatal flaw.  Failing to "keep up" has caused scores of leaders to fail and led to organizations  restructured, acquired -- or closed companies.

3. The "ME ONLY" Syndrome  Every leader wants to recognized and rewarded for his or her efforts.  BUT some are too preoccupied with the themselves.  Their overriding concerns are much credit they're getting, how much money they're making and how fast they're moving up the corporate ladder.  Leaders have to be authentic team players in today's lean environment.

4. Fear of Action  Halfhearted leaders may be limited by their inability to put themselves on the line.  They be diligent workers with great new ideas, BUT they lack the passion or conviction to sell them to their superiors or workers.  Underlying this commitment is fear of failure.  Such leaders try to prevent a fall by avoid action, but actually hasten their own demise by doing so.
5. Unable to Rebound  Leaders who succeed early in their careers but then are unable to weather a setback aren't that much different than those who reach the top.  Both groups are incredibly bright and ambitious and make many sacrifices.  BUT those who don't rebound from failure tend to become defensive, trying to conceal their failure or blaming it on others.  But the successful leaders admit where they've erred and work to correct the problem.