8 Ways to Fail in a Leadership Role

It’s safe to say that if you’ve ever held a job before, you know exactly what it’s like to work for others. While traveling the path of employment, one can be introduced to many different leadership styles. Many of those leadership styles spell disaster, while other leadership styles thrive and offer the benefits of success.

Over the coarse of the past 25 years of being in leadership roles that specifically require me to train and manage young entrepreneurs and young managers taking on leadership roles for the first time. Obviously most of the individuals I’ve come across in these positions are excited, and filled with enthusiasm about the new challenge they’re embarking on.

A small percentage actually reach their true potential in order to achieve success.

There isn’t much that I haven’t seen over the years, but there’s a few sure fire things I’ve seen individuals in leadership roles fail to do. When individuals in leadership roles fail to do these basic things, it ultimately results in their demise.

8 Failing Leadership Traits

Leadership Fail

Don’t Ask Questions

One of the more common mistakes someone in a leadership role cane make, is thinking they already know it all. Another mistake is being afraid to ask questions because of feeling stupid. Both concepts are nothing more than craziness. No one knows everything, and if you don’t ask, you may never know the difference between the correct, or incorrect procedure.

Don’t Care

It’s always frustrating when an individual accepts a position of advancement in a business, or role they truly don’t care about. Even worse is when an individual accepts a position, and quickly slips into uselessness because they no longer have passion or care about the true functions of a leadership role.

Don’t Delegate

Delegating tasks can become a time consuming, royal pain in the ass. Especially for an effective leader that tracks delegated tasks with pin sharp notes. In reality, in order to effectively manage delegated tasks, one must be very efficient, and organized when managing these tasks. This is the main reason behind why so many individuals in the leadership role fail. They can’t handle the attention to detail needed, nor the consistency it takes to have results from delegating.

Failing to delegate tasks will make managing day-to-day operations extremely difficult, especially as basic tasks begin to build up and go unmanaged. It’s hard to manage the current, if you failed to manage what came before it.

Don’t Lead by Example

This one always pisses me off.

There’s a no smoking policy, yet the mega-star, fresh in their leadership role thinks they’re above the law. There’s specific parking for all team members, yet mega-star thinks they have the right to park right up front.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Chances are this individual was put into a leadership position because they followed the basics, did what was expected, and often went above and beyond the call of duty. Now, because they’ve achieved a position of leadership, they think the rules no longer apply to them. However, it’s quite the opposite. When you’re in a leadership role, expectations are higher. You’re expected to not only know, and follow the rules, but also enforce those rules when others fail to comply with those rules.

Don’t Follow-up

Delegating tasks is one major piece of the puzzle, but there’s an even more important piece to the puzzle, and that’s the follow-up. Any baboon can stand around, point and try to sick people on tasks like an attack dog, but it takes a true leader to get results from delegating tasks. Failing to follow-up on delegated tasks is worse than failing to delegate tasks in the first place.

Continuing to delegate tasks that you never follow-up on will ultimately destroy a leaders credibility. Think about it… Why bother doing something if no one ever looks at what was done to offer praise? Not to mention there’s way too many training opportunities that go missed when follow-up doesn’t occur.

Don’t Give Ownership

This is one that many small business owners will question. Some might even tell me I’m out of my mind, but my experience tells me otherwise.

When you give ownership to your team members, it builds respect and a passion for the business. Everyone wants to do well, and most people enjoy learning how they can maximize their own potential. Failing to give ownership often results in a team that is more like a team of robots, robots that haven’t been given the full software install. These robots only function at a % of what their true potential is, and ultimately limit what your entire team can do.

Don’t Set Goals

A true leader sets personal goals, as well as professional goals for themselves. In addition, someone in a leadership role should set goals for their team members, and set time aside to listen to specific goals that each individual team member has. When everyone on the team is aware of each others goals, it becomes easier for that team to achieve and be successful.

Don’t Take Initiative

Failing managers rarely take initiative, even though it’s most likely one of the key ingredients that brought them to this point in their career. Leaders need to be fearless, and be willing to take the initiative to pre-act to future issues, while tackling any issue that might arise. A leader that ignores issues, or fails to address things that they see, will ultimately be a failure in their leadership position.

On the Way Out

Leadership isn’t simple. Sure, it’s simple for anyone that’s never been in a leadership role to judge, but truth be told, most of those individuals wouldn’t last 2 weeks in a real leadership position.

Share a trait that you think aids in the failure of someone in a leadership role. Leave a comment below.

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The “Don’t Ask Question” part is suppose to be right but in some cases especially when you’re managing a blue collar employees, you can’t afford for them to disrespect you and usually blue collar employees are under educated so when for instance if you bend over they will start walking all over you.

That’s a very interesting take on things…

Hey John, these are all very good. My only concern as a tax and business lawyer is with giving ownership. This can be a real problem and a very costly one indeed if not handled correctly and with the proper plan and proper and air-tight legal documentation. Readers need to understand how important it is to set this up correctly. Even then you can get trapped in a very messy legal dispute that can be quite costly.

Great point Steven. My first suggestion would be that anyone that employs giving ownership as a team building initiative, be very careful when it comes to following up and monitoring. Consistently. If the leadership skills don’t include organization, and a solid follow-up ability, the liabilities become countless.

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by, and for interacting. Here’s to a great weekend.

Hey John, your article reminds me of my favorite quotes on leadership by Warren Bennis that goes
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”.
The line is deep as well as the thought. There’s no such word as easy when it comes to managing people of varios interest. Yes! leaders should be fearless and active all the time to pre-act on issues that will probably arise.

Hi Marie!

Awesome quote reference!! I don’t believe I’ve heard that one before, but it’s definitely a fact.

Thank you for taking the time to come by, read and comment. I appreciate it.

Your welcome John, I enjoy reading article like this. Hope to read more!

Appreciate the Don’t, a leader will always have to stand for what is right besides the situation this makes him/her a real leader.

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