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Major Causes of Failure in Leadership

In every work of life, there is always a leader, be it in a political setup, in an organisation, a business place, company or even the church. A leader is viewed by different people in many ways depending on their own perceptions but lets consider a leader as one who leads, guides, supports, coordinates and follows up the activities of his or her subordinates. Taking up the mantle of leadership comes with a lot of work, and challenges when it comes to bringing people together and making certain decisions. It could be in an organisation, a school, office or even at home. Some people were naturally born to be leaders while others grow up and learn to be leaders. This is to say that those people who were born to be leaders possess natural leadership skills (inborn skills) meanwhile others have to learn these skills thoroughly in order to succeed as leaders. Being born a leader or having to learn to lead does not make you more or less than the others. The difference is how you go about the whole thing, how you define your principles, and how well you can relate with the people you work with. The best leaders in life especially those in the business world are those leaders who have learnt to deal with failure, having learnt that “life is not a bed of roses”. Such people know that you cannot succeed all the time but what matters is, when you fall, you have to rise again.

It is popularly said that for you to be a good leader, you must learn to serve people and not expect people to serve you. Being a leader means you are there to help, lead, organise and coordinate people and not exactly acting as their “god” as some people would think. Sometimes you get to lead a small group of people meanwhile at other times you have a larger group of people to lead and at this point you have to put all your leadership skills at their best because it is not an easy task to lead a large number of people since humans are quite different in character and behaviour. Trying to understanding, cope with and controll all these characters that vary may just be a really hard nut to crack. True leaders always strive to do the right things because they are supposed to be exemplary to their subordinates. Leaders have inspiring visions for the future, they inspire people or their subordinates to get engaged in that vision, they control and manage the delivery of the vision and finally, they build a team that will work effectively towards achieving that vision. This is to say that true leaders are proactive. They try to solve problems and look for a way forward rather than just being satisfied with things the way they are. Now let us look at the other side of the coin, poor leaders.

Poor leadership leads to failure and it manifests itself in numerous ways and of course, it has grave impacts on the company or organisation especially when it comes to making employees stay in the company or when it comes to motivating them. A company cannot succeed without employees and poor leadership skills always sends employees away given that people do not like working with poor leaders or leaders who are failures. Now let’s look at the causes of leadership failure so that you can avert suffering from the impact of poor leadership.

Causes of leadership failure

Poor communication skills: A good leader should be one who is able to communicate to his employees or team members about everything from their company goals or organizational goals to their other specific tasks at all times. The leader should be one who is good at various forms of communication from one on one conversations, to interpersonal, focus groups and mass communication. He should also be able to communicate using social media, through the phone, writing emails and most importantly, he should be able to establish a steady flow of communication between board or staff members and the entire team either by regularly communicating with members. Therefore, if a leader does not possess good communication skills, he or she is bound to fail. Let’s see why.

When the leader cannot have one on one discussions with his subordinates, it creates a problem because that link between a manager for example and the employees will not be there. It also goes a long way to affect the company or organisation because when employees have problems, they may not be able to address it to you simply because they know that you lack that ability to communicate.

Therefore, to succeed as a leader, you must learn to communicate both with your subordinates and the outside world if not you will be bound to fail. A good leader must possess good verbal communication skills as well as a great ability to communicate by writing

Another aspect leaders must take note of is the ability to listen when people talk. Most unsuccessful leaders have failed because they most often kept themselves in that position where they are the only ones to make pronouncements. That is, the others are there just to listen when they talk. As a leader in a company, an organisation or in any establishment, you should learn how to listen to others. That way, you will be able to get their worries and equally their ideas. Mind you that when you do not listen to your subordinates, you may be missing out on great ideas that may have contributed to the success of your organisation and thereby making you to succeed as a leader. There are many unsuccessful leaders today because they portrayed signs of poor leadership by not making themselves regularly available to discuss the concerns and issues of the organisation with the employees. A leader who does not listen will always fail to lead effectively.

Lack of commitment: One of the causes of leadership failure is the lack of commitment shown by most leaders today. Most unsuccessful leaders have the tendency to start certain projects which may be very promising but at the end of the day, they do not follow it through. Unsuccessful leaders are those who cannot even sacrifice extra working hours towards a particular project. The logic here is that a leader leads by example. If you don’t show your subordinates your commitment or your subordinates do not see how committed you are, they will not also develop the zeal to act accordingly. Remember that you cannot work and succeed alone. Therefore, if you are not committed, your employees will not also be committed to work, to equally put in extra time just the way you do it. It is very common for employees to follow the footsteps of their leader. Therefore, if you don’t work in the right way, you are bound to fail due to poor leadership skills. More so, when you are not very committed to your work or to the various projects you carryout, your projects will always take a longer time for them to be completed because the time which you were supposed to follow up the work thoroughly to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency was wasted in some other activity.

Inability to deliver feedback: When people put in their efforts towards something, they always expect to get feedback on their performance whether favourable or not. In such a case, a good leader should always find time to inform the subordinates of their performance as a whole whether good or bad. Unsuccessful leaders will only concern themselves with scolding the workers when they perform poorly but will never encourage and appreciate them when they do well. Some signs of poor leadership include lack of the power to appreciate and the inability to encourage workers.

Giving feedback to workers gives you the opportunity to better explain to them how they can improve on their work and in such a forum, a leader should not only concentrate on the negative aspects but should congratulate workers for their efforts and then go on to encourage them and tell them the way forward. This encourages your team to better work towards the success of your projects and thereby making you a successful leader. People with poor leadership skills rather work the other way round. They concentrate on where the workers did not succeed and forget about where they succeeded. People always want to be appreciated and appreciation also acts as some sort of motivation.

Motivation does not only come in monetary terms. Just by appreciating your subordinates, you encourage them to work more. First of all they get encouraged to know that they can actually do the work. Mind you that if your subordinates do not appreciate you then you will hardly succeed. Possessing poor leadership skills is very dangerous not only to the individual but to the organisation or company as a whole. Therefore, for you to create success stories, you have to develop better leadership skills.

Lack of trustworthiness: Deceitfulness is one of the poor leadership skills that will turn you into an unsuccessful leader. People who have failed as leaders are those who were not even trusted by their co-workers and not to talk of their subordinates. A true leader is one who is trusted by his or her team members. People should be able to discuss their issues and concerns with you. If you are not trustworthy as a leader then you are walking towards the path of failure. This is so because once people lose their trust in you, then you become a leader only on paper and after some time, people will not even want to have you as their leader. Don’t be that leader who would listen to an employee confide in them and later use those same things you were told against him or her. You should be that leader people admire, that leader people look up to as a father or as a mother. Your employees or team members should be able to confide in you at all times. In other words, people should be very comfortable around you.

In another light, people who possess poor leadership skills are those who are fond of mismanaging funds. As a leader, many people look up to you and everyone watches your actions and reactions.A great leader has to live an exemplary life. A leader can also be seen as a manager so he or she has the responsibility to be able to manage funds where probably there is no one assigned to that job. Embezzlers are not good leaders. When you are known for things like mismanagement of funds and embezzlement to the extent that you don’t pay workers regularly or on time, you are shoowing signs of poor leadership. You lose your respect both in the organization and outside because as always, negetive information will spread about you. Sometimes it is not just words. Your subordinates may end up rallying against you when they see that they can no longer go on with your kind and that shows failure already because if the sheep go against the shepherd then the shepherd becomes useless and that means he has failed.

Little or no follow-up:This is one problem that is plaguing many leaders and their projects today, follow-up. The simple trick about carrying out successful projects as a leader is to always follow up on how the work is progressing. Most leaders who have failed today are those who explained their visions to their subordinates, shared the work to be done as well as giving a time frame for the work to be done and then they just disappear abandoning everything and only waiting to talk about it on the deadline. The fact here is that you cannot ask people to work and not follow up to see how they are doing the work and how far they have gone. Even after the leader explains his vision to the subordinates and assigns them with their various tasks, it is his duty to follow up the work to see how it is progressing. This is because the leader is the one who had the conception and would better decide how he or she wants the work to unfold. Sometimes the work may be successful without the follow up of the leader but it will not always turn out the way it was envisaged by the leader. Carrying out a project without follow up is like being in the process of constructing a house without going to the site once in a while to check and see for yourself how the work unfolds and this is one of the signs of poor leadership. Follow up can be directly linked with commitment to your job because when you are committed, you will always want to ensure that everything works out well in the way that you had envisioned it or even better.

Fond of Intimidation: One of the causes of leadership failure is when leaders possess some sort of pride and which causes them to always intimidate and bully their subordinates by threatening to lay them off if at all they do not complete their jobs on time or they do not do their work satisfactorily. Intimidation here also includes publicly criticising employees for mistakes or poor performances. This act most often takes away the self-esteem of the workers and as such they cannot deliver effectively which is one of the impact of poor leadership. This causes failure in leadership because as a leader, you are rather supposed to boost the morale of your subordinates instead of making them feel bad about themselves. In other cases, poor leaders are those who never apologise for their wrongs but rather blame all negative situations on their subordinates. This further makes the employees feel more inferior because they will start to believe that they are the cause of whatever goes wrong when it comes to work. A worker who feels inferior about himself will not be courageous enough to share creative ideas that would have benefitted the company because the leader has already made them feel that probably they cannot contribute to the company’s success. Such workers will never take initiative to work until they are told.

Good leaders on the other hand make their workers feel that they have potentials that can benefit the company and in such a case, the subordinates will always work with initiative and save more time rather than always wait for orders always from the boss. This way, they don’t just work effectively but they equally work efficiently that is completing their work and minimising time at the same time. So it becomes obvious that the projects of good leaders will always be more successful than those of poor leaders because poor leaders can easily frustrate well-intending employees.

Poor leaders possess a “know-it-all” habit: Leaders who have failed are those who believed that they knew everything perfectly and could not learn anything from the organisation not to talk of the subordinates. Meanwhile, the best leaders are extremely cognisant of the fact that there are things they do not know or how much they don't know. Poor leaders always have the need to want to be the smartest person in the organisation, and they do not have the slightest desire to learn from anyone. On the contrary, successful leaders always have a strong desire to learn from others. As often said by some writers, leaders who are not growing cannot lead a growing enterprise. One of the hallmarks of great leaders is their unquenchable desire to learn new things. If a leader isn't extremely curious about every aspect of their organization, then there is a problem somewhere and it only means that the organisation chose the wrong leader and this may act as a dangerous setback for the institution.

One of the causes of leadership failure is also when leaders often feel that everything is all about them. If a leader does not understand that he or she is there to serve and care less about himself or herself, by understanding the concept of “service above self”, then they will prompt some feeling of distrust, lack of confidence, and disloyalty in the minds of those they lead. Worthy of note is the fact that a leader is only successful when he is accepted by his team members or by the desire of his or her team members to be led by them. A good leader should not be too proud, should not possess an overabundance of ego, and arrogance. “Real leaders take the blame and give the credit - not the other way around.” The moment your subordinates begin to lose their trust in you because you portray signs of poor leadership, then be aware that your reign as a leader is over because without a team, you will have no one to lead. So bottom line is a leader should always make sure he renews the confidence of his subordinates. In other words, your subordinates’ confidence in you, should grow stronger as they work with you.

Now that you’ve seen the causes of leadership failure, let’s briefly look at the impact of poor leadership

Being a leader is not just a name or someone occupying a particular position and it entails being able to motivate your team so that they can effectively carryout their tasks in time while respecting the goals and objectives of the company. Now when a leader does not possess that power of motivation, then the company starts experiencing the impact of poor leadership for instance, there will be regular cases of unmet targets and this in turn will surely have some negative effects on the company as a whole.

The causes of failure in leadership are enormous as well as the impact of poor leadership on an organisation. When a leader openly makes shameful utterances to his subordinates, it makes them believe that they do not have potential and cannot contribute to the success of the organisation, it can lead to regular resignations from workers due to constant loss of morale whenever their leader talks. Now when a company always gets new workers and they regularly leave while new ones come in, it makes them unstable and there will be little or no improvement of talents which means that at some point in time, the company will not have workers who are experienced and have stayed in the company for a long time. Before taking up the leadership positon, make sure you are actually ready to make the sacrifices necessary to lead.

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