It is possible to have significant leadership skills and still undermine one's own leadership. And this is not only a risk for young leaders but often for leaders who have seen significant success. Here are some of the ways that leaders can sabotage their leadership, and even destroy it.

Ego. This should be obvious but it isn't always! Success breeds confidence and that confidence can cause us to overestimate our wisdom and underestimate our need for counsel. This can creep up on us over time without our realizing it until we are no longer open to the input of others which eventually comes back to bite us.

Schedule. Good leaders are in demand. That demand can cause us to say yes too often and no too seldom. Busyness wears us down, tires our bodies and minds, robs us of think time and even God. Schedule erosion eventually catches up to us in negative ways.

Entitlement. Successful leaders can start to believe that the rules don't apply to them as they apply to others. One of the ways this often plays out is in behaviors that they would not allow others to exhibit but which they feel they can. This may be carelessness in the treatment of others in words or attitudes or simply taking staff for granted. Because they have positional authority they often get away with behaviors that they shouldn't but by doing so they lose the respect of their staff.

Laziness. Many leaders who saw success in one period of life lose their edge in another because they no longer feel the need to stay sharp, learn new skills, and understand the changing environment around them. This can be the result of out of control schedules or hubris but whenever we stop being intentional in our own development we begin to lose our ability to lead well.

Health. This is one I understand and I have had to become deeply intentional about addressing my own health issues. When we don't those issues often compromise our energy and our ability to carry out our leadership roles. In the second half of life, this is one that leaders must become more intentional about if they are going to go the distance.

Growth. Learning and development are a life long process. I love the comment my brother made at my father's funeral service. "He was not a perfect man but he kept getting better."  When we lose our intentionality here others notice and it sabotages our leadership. This includes growth in areas like Emotional Intelligence, relational intelligence, our leadership skills. When we stop an intentional paradigm of growth we enter a danger zone. 

Clarity. Lack of personal and leadership clarity leaves both us and our staff without focus. No matter how brilliant one is, a lack of focus creates confusion for those one leads and dissipates the energy that one expends. Life should be journey toward ever greater clarity about what we ought to be doing (and alternatively not doing), what our priorities should be (and there should be only a few) and what the target is for our work (without which our staff will lack direction). 

Discipline. No amount of brilliance makes up for a lack of discipline in our lives. Each of these areas requires a disciplined life around key areas of personal health. 

What sabotages your leadership? It can be one of these or it can be other things. Being sensitive to whatever it is will allow us to go the distance.

  • Apr 20, 2023
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
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