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How to Fail as a Leader

Yesterday, I had the great and terrible privilege of watching a leader fail.

Failure to Communicate: The leader did not communicate with his team. He left them to their own devices. The team did not communicate with each other. The lack of communication caused them to make mistakes, and the mistakes caused them to fail. The leader said nothing.

Failure to Believe Success Is Attainable: As the team’s performance worsened, their leader made visible his belief that the team was incapable of success. His failure to believe was immediately and irrevocably adopted by his team. He didn’t believe, so they didn’t believe either. He infected them with the belief that they could only lose, and that became their reality.

Failure to Inspire and Motivate: The leader said nothing to inspire the team. He said nothing to instill confidence in his team. When they needed his encouragement, he withheld it, instead showing his lack of interest–and sometimes his contempt–for his team. He made no effort to help them turn things around.

Failure to Demand Success: This leader failed to demand that his team give their all, that they do their very best. The leader literally allowed his team to fail. They may have failed anyway, but he should have made clear that he was going to demand more of them, that he wasn’t going to allow them to lose. He let them give up on themselves when he should have demanded they perform.

The team failed themselves, too.

No One Stepped Up to Lead: Not one member of the team stepped up to take over the role of leader when they lost theirs. They were too young and too inexperienced to know that no one makes you a leader; you step up and take responsibility.

One person can make a difference. Leadership is the difference between winning and losing, between success and failure.

Questions

Why is it important that a leader communicate with her team?

How does a leader show her team that she believes in them?

How does she inspire and motivate her team?

Can you demand success?

What is your responsibility when you have no leader?


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  1. […] [toread] How to Fail as a Leader – Yesterday, I had the great and terrible privilege of watching a leader fail. Here is how he did it. […]