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5 reasons why leaders fail

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in Leaders & Managers

It’s no secret when leaders lose their mojo, yet somehow it just keeps happening.

These causes tend to stand out:

  1. Failure to deliver on what they promised. Leaders need to provide their people the support and other resources to accomplish their jobs, but they don’t need to tolerate nonperformance. Bring problems up quickly, restate your expectations, set deadlines and hold people accountable for results. Explain that the whole team counts on them.
  2. Optimism overload. Optimists succeed. Their optimism leads them to minimize obstacles, deny weaknesses and underrate the competition. The trick is to convey reality to people without crushing their spirits. Your basic approach: “We’re facing challenges, everybody, but I know we can do it!”
  3. Charmlessness. This flaw requires training, mentoring and reflection to overcome. The leader’s task is to find the right people to accomplish the mission, put them in the right jobs and cut them loose to do it.
  4. Too many distractions. Tune out any loud interference from sources not central to your mission.
  5. Bogging down. Call it what you want—spinning wheels, treading water—it’s all the same thing. Nothing moves forward. Maybe people leave, or maybe it’s paralysis by analysis. Whatever it is, throw off the impediments and start moving on the mission.

—Adapted from Why Should the Boss Listen to You? James E. Lukaszewski, Jossey-Bass

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