When leadership fails

Most people are not born leaders. And others will always struggle with leadership. Some people tell me that there are people in leadership roles that will never be successful as a leader. I take a slightly different view, that leadership is a skill. And skills can be learned. 

Regardless of what your view on leaders being born or bred are, there remains the fact that some leaders fail. Some leaders lose their job. Some leaders lose their team. Some leaders lose their control (emotional that is, not power based). 

Some leaders fail, regardless of whether they are born or bred. Or whether they are not ever going to work hard enough on their skills to successfully lead other hoomanz.  

When I say fail, I mean when a leader does one of the following things: 

1. When leaders put themselves first, over their team 

Leadership fails when leaders don’t put their teams first. Plain and simple. 

This is a big challenge for leaders who have big career ambitions. Big goals for their futures. Big dreams for what they can achieve. And I get that, I was young and excited at one stage of my career. 

The issue is that your team knows when your decisions are based on your career progression, rather than on what is the best thing for the team. And team members take it personally. They get totally put out when they are not the leader’s priority. And so they should.  

Especially when the leader says that their team are their highest priority. When they just aren’t. 

When leadership fails, because leaders put themselves first, team members check out. They say things like not feeling cared for. Or valued. Or supported. Uncool. 

2. Leaders lose the support of their team members 

Leadership fails when leaders lose the support of their team members. One of two things will happen. 

Firstly, decisions are made without the leader knowing (or sometimes caring). Sometimes big decisions. The team feels like they have no choice but to make the decisions that need to be made. And sometimes that doesn’t end well. 

Secondly, the total opposite happens. Team members don’t make any decisions, because of the fear of rejection, ridicule, or retribution. Teams that don’t feel supported tend to try and hide, just keep their heads down, and fly under the radar. For a reminder of this one, cast your mind back to the pandemic years – most of the phone calls that I got at that time were from leaders who couldn’t get their teams to make decisions. Why? Because they felt removed from their leader and their business. They were living and working in isolation. The first thing that disappears is decision making. 

When leadership fails, because leaders don’t support their teams, team members either make too many decisions (without input) or not enough decisions (without input). Both outcomes are the same – the wrong decisions are made. 

3. Leaders who fail generally fail publicly 

Leaders usually fail publicly; everyone sees the failure, the team members experience the failure, and the business usually (sadly – unless they have a great culture) punishes the failure.  

Which is tough for the leader. Who either leaves or learns.  

Unfortunately, some people are happy to see you fail. Which is ok. When you put your hand up, or your head up (literally, and metaphorically), people can take aim. They can comment on your failure, or your success.  

And you can take that in your stride, as a leader. It should not break you. It should make you. 

How you respond to both the failure, as well as the publicity that comes with it, will demonstrate who you are as both a hooman and as a leader. It is important to remember that life gives you two types of experiences – lessons and blessings. 

The lessons (aka failures) will come along every once in a while. And that is ok. 

When leadership fails, and when leadership fails publicly, they are the moments that make-or-break leaders. And their teams. And their organisations. 

Reach out if you would like to know more about how you can get world class leadership coaching and training. To deal with failure. 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
UPSKILL your Leadership
UPLIFT your Teams

About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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