Tuesday, June 9, 2009

10 most common leadership shortcomings and how to resolve them

After scrutinizing 360-degree feedback data on over 11,000 leaders and evaluating the 10% considered the least effective, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman found the 10 most common leadership shortcomings. These are ranked according to the size of the difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders' scores; successful and failed leaders differed most significantly in their energy and enthusiasm.

 Please find the listing below as well my suggestions on how to change them.


1.    Lack of energy and enthusiasm

If you do your job just because you have to, if it feels like it is something you should do (rather than would like to do), then it drains your energy. If you are a leader mainly because you are attracted to the status, the power and the money, then you will lack the necessary enthusiasm. Your heart is not connected, so it just is an economic and rational activity. This activity is not fuelled by your enthusiasm. If you do work, which you love to do, if you follow your passion, it will give you energy and enthusiasm. And of course all the people will clearly notice the difference. So, have a serious look in the mirror and see whether you really love what you are doing.


2.    Accept their own mediocre performance

Again if your heart is not really connected in what you do than the work becomes a drag. You are just doing your job, nothing more, nothing less. You have no time and energy left to check the quality of your performance. Mostly time is more important than quality. It would be good to take a different perspective, to stand back and see what you really are doing. Is this really the results that you are proud of? Would you really like to be associated with these these outcomes? Maybe you want to put in extra time to increase the quality?


3.    Lack clear vision and direction

It is my favorite part of Alice in Wonderland, she comes to this junction and asks the people which direction to take. They answer: that depends on where you want to go? She says that she doesn’t know and they reply that than any direction will be the right direction. This proves that a clear vision and direction is absolutely needed for an organization. This vision is not something the leader has to develop on his/her own. On the contrary, it is a very motivating exercise to involve employees from all levels. They will make sure that many different perspectives are taken into consideration. At the same time, they will really support this vision, because they contributed themselves. So, open yourself to the input from others.


4.    Have poor judgment

In order to have good judgment, you need a clear and clean intellect. If your intellect is troubled by past experiences, your judgment will be confused as well. To lighten up your intellect, you have to pay attention to getting enough rest and relaxation. Also you might consider to meditate, as this will significantly improve the clarity of your intellect.


5.    Don’t collaborate

It might be an old habit that as a leader you have to do all things by yourself. Maybe you don’t trust the contribution of others. Or you don’t have enough self-confidence to admit that you don’t have all the answers yourself. It takes courage to show your own vulnerability. Well, the times have changed. People expect you to be open, vulnerable and a real team player as well. You will be amazed how positively people will react when you open up.


6.    Don’t follow the standards they set for others.

In a leadership position people will look up to you. You are the example, the personification of the organization. They will follow your behavior. So, it is crucial to practice what you preach. Give the right example.


7. Resist new ideas

Most people are not willing to leave their comfort zones. They are used to working in a certain way, and that way brought them to the leadership position. The fear of the unknown and the fear of failure will prevent change. However, in today’s business climate change is inevitable. Internal as well as external forces indicate the need for change. New ideas need to be stimulated and caressed. If you feel uncomfortable you might consider to hire a coach who can help you on your own growth path as well.


8.    Don’t learn from mistakes

The saying is ‘if you do what you did, you get what you got’. So, you have to learn from failures and change your approach. Failures are not a bad thing, they happen and will happen even more. Today’s society has become so complex, that it is impossible not to make mistakes. What is needed however is to fail fast. Learn from your mistakes and change your actions.


9.    Lack interpersonal skills

Any business is a people business. So you have to be very good in working, communication and collaborating with other people. Many years ago, Daniel Coleman introduced the essential emotional intelligence in interpersonal connections. These interpersonal skills can be learned through training. Also a coach can add a lot of value in this learning process.


10.                  Fail to develop others

In this competitive world the main differentiator are the people. They have to be given the opportunity to learn and to grow. The best leaders are surrounded with people who are better than them. The loyalty and the output will increase significantly if you pay serious attention to their ProPer (Professional as well as Personal) development.





Every leader has some shortcomings. That is no problem at all. You just have to have the guts to face them, accept them and be open to learning and changing yourself .





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