Why Leaders Fail 4 Responsibilities a Leader Must Face, But Often Neglect

Many times leaders fail because they shy away from doing the difficult work leaders must do. The tendency we must fight against is to work hard for a season, then reach a plateau where we relax and allow other leaders we’ve raised to fulfill the vision. While delegation and empowering others is a must for successful leadership, hiding away completely is not.

If you are failing as a leader, it may be because you have hidden yourself behind this deceptive veil. Is there a chance you are not doing the hard work that must be done? Let me share with you a few tasks that leaders must do.

why leaders fail

To succeed as leaders is not easy. It is a vicious fight with oneself to engage what is hard.  Great leadership is not about doing what is hard now, so later we can do what is easy. The motto, “suffer now, enjoy later,” does not apply to great leaders. Leaders must be ready to get in the thick of the battle at all times.

Here are a few tasks for leaders who do not want to passively watch their teams or organizations decline. These are hard tasks that I often see leaders ignore, neglect, or wait too long for others to solve for them. When our people see us sitting on the sideline while the battle is raging, they become unmotivated and success is at stake.

When the following situations happen, remember that it might be your signal to step up.

  1. Take care of dangerous situations. It may be slumping profits or decrease in the health of the culture. It may be less than desirable behavior in your family or a lawsuit that can cripple your organization. If there is something threatening the people you lead it is time to step up and fight. This might be obvious to us as leaders, but it is a tendency that most of us slip into if we are tired or emotionally drained. Regardless how we feel, our calling as leaders is to have courage and sacrifice when we are needed.
  2. Handle difficult people. Sometimes we feel, I like everything about leadership except people. Yes, difficult people can make us want to hide. Sometimes there is one person that no one likes, that one person who is not quite poor enough to let go, or a person you cannot let go, but still they are affecting others negatively. It may be a person no one on your team seems to be able to tame. It must be the leader who should to talk to him or her, connect with, and bring back to the fold.
  3. Turn around failing ventures. How about when a venture or a big plan is failing? For me, it is exciting to dream up new ways to move forward. I love to help create a new name, brand, team, and have a beautiful launch where all are excited to reach for the stars. I love to jump in and be a part of new beginnings. Most leaders do. But few of us love to jump in and save a new venture when our great plans did not work. That’s the hard work of a leader. That’s when we are truly needed. We may be needed when the easy work is being done, but if we cower away when hardship and failure is a prospect we are truly failing as leaders.
  4. Revive a stale vision. When the vision becomes less than inspiring, we cannot afford to ignore it. People want to be part of a beautiful and exciting journey. They want to have a high purpose. Leaders must revisit and renew the vision when needed. What I found is often needed is not a new vision, but a fresh way to articulate the current one. That is hard work to communicate, and that is why many times it is not communicated.

The leader’s indispensable duty is his or her presence when things are not going well. I tell the leaders who work for me that when times are good, you are really unneeded ninety percent of the time. I tell them I need you—I need leaders—in bad times. I not only have to remind others of that, more importantly I have to remind myself of that. I believe shying away from difficult circumstances is a human tendency. It is a not a sign that we are bad leaders. What we must do, is be aware of this tendency, and stand up and fight in spite of it. 

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

Feel Like Giving Up? Don’t.
When Leaders Fail, People Suffer

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