Tuesday, July 29, 2008

3 Reasons Leaders Fail

After an informal research survey with colleagues, three common items come up when discussing leaders and failure. I discussed this with my leadership council - and no one was surprised. There are numerous reasons leaders fail, but here are three reasons from my findings.
#1 Reason for Failure – Poor Communication Skills
You hear some leaders say they don’t need to work on their communication skills. Just last week I read an article about a tech leader attending a management seminar, proclaiming he didn't need any help communicating better. However, he said he changed his mind after spending time with a speech coach. He realized that his poor communication skills were preventing him from getting his point across with his team.

The fact is "…. 90% of managers believe their communication skills are in the top 10% of all managers. That means that 80% of these managers think they’re better communicators than they actually are. It’s no wonder communication is a key reason for management failure" (Carnes).
Management Insights: Discovering the Truths To Management Success
by Ken Carnes, David Cottrell and Mark C. Layton

#2 Reason for failure – Loss of Focus

How many times have we put off doing those “frogs"? Brain Tracey refers to "frogs" as those most important tasks we keeping putting off. He says address those first.

The fact is : "Failing leaders lose track on the big picture," he says Bill Jusko. Instead they focus on short-term or narrow problems that don't address strategic direction or major issues”(Jusko).

Why Leaders Fail. By: Jusko, Jill, Industry Week/IW, 00390895, Mar2002, Vol. 251, Issue 3
Database: Business Source Complete

# 3 Reason for Failure – Too Soft

Neal Whitten, PMP, author of No-Nonsense Advice for Successful Projects, writes the biggest reason project managers are not effective, is because they are soft (no vision for team success).

Soft refers to not holding teammates accountable and trying to keep everyone happy. As Bill Cosby says, the key to failure is trying to please everyone.

Leaders must take action by committing to a continuous learning and development program. Set goals and action steps to grow and fight off failure.

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