“The greatest obstacle to discovery isn’t ignorance. It is the illusion of knowledge.” ~ Daniel Boorstin
Despite what we might like to believe ignorance is NOT bliss. Well, it might be blissful for a little while, but if you’re not careful, bliss will come back around to bite you in the you-know-where.
Just like all of us, there are lots of reasons leaders fail. However when leaders fail it’s often a bit more public, so let’s take a look at a few of the ways they sabotage their own success and learn from them.
Poor communication. Pat Parelli says, “Communication is two or more individuals sharing and understanding an idea.” Knowing your audience and how to connect with them is the foundation of communication. Leaders unaware or unwilling to take into account their colleagues’ personalities, ways of learning and communication styles risk failing to clearly convey their messages.
Fear of losing their position and power can cause leaders to become insecure and put their own needs ahead of the needs of their team. Leading with fear is hardly motivating to those who must follow you. It causes a leader to act from a defensive position rather than from one of strength.
“CEO disease.” Many leaders have an unrealistic/inaccurate picture of themselves. People may not feel comfortable standing up to a leader or don’t want to risk upsetting the boss for fear of the consequences. Or maybe they just don’t want to be seen as the pessimist. Regardless of the reason, without both positive and negative feedback, leaders won’t be as effective. No matter what the reason, believing that all is well and he/she is responsible for it often leads to…
Arrogance. Without honest feedback, it’s easy for leaders to conclude that “no news is good news.” We all like to think well of ourselves and it doesn’t take much for us to believe that we are better than we are-especially if all we ever hear is how great a job we’re doing.
Not seeing the real picture. All of the above reasons boil down to lack of self-awareness– the first competency of emotional intelligence. The best leaders are aware of their own values and visions and understand the varied perspectives of their followers. Not being able or willing to see what’s really happening and to respond appropriately is yet another way leaders fail themselves and those they lead.
Have you ever had a bad boss? Or served under an excellent leader? What were some of the things that you learned to do–and NOT to do?