7 Reasons Why Leaders Fail

November 19, 2008

I am not a leader, as such and I’m not trying to take pot shots out of any here, but leadership in the APPO/OSCE has been high profile of late, change is in the air with our recent elections and here in New Media we are looking at tensions between what we’d like to do and what we can do without getting crosswise of, er… you guessed it… management. >>>

I have been uplifted by good leadership and been downtrodden and demoralized by bad leadership. I might have a tiny axe or two to grind though I’m pleased to say none of them are current. This interesting post from psyblog talks about some of the intrinsic pressures on managers that create tensions which can lead to fracturing of a team and to failure. The question is asked at the end, are their other major reasons why leaders fail, and my answer to that is “Of Course!” I was good, though, and I didn’t say anything.

7 Reasons Leaders Fail, in a nutshell, points out that many problems stem straight from rigid hierarchies, which set up expectations that require leaders to make decisions (or appear to do so) when they are not actually the ones who know the right answers. Many of the remaining factors stem from this, or are exacerbated by the results thereof.

We are breaking new ground in leadership and hopefully in New Media at the same time, doing so during troubled and turbulent times. Interesting Times, even, as goes the Chinese curse. We are working in an environment where, at least officially, without a lot of traditional management structure and that puts a lot of responsibility on each of us to make things happen. So, what’s my point, you may ask. That’s a darned good question. I’m not saying I think we have to watch out for these pitfalls, I’m not saying we are all flying in a rainbow sky of amoebic management clouds either. I think what twigged with me about this article was that our own expectations, both as leaders and followers will create the very tensions that result in failure if we do not look for ways to avoid them.

Mike touched yesterday on “taking it personally,” which ties directly to what we assume about what we are being told. These assumptions are pretty basic and hard to break out of, as are the things we assume about the media we are working with. And maybe that’s my point, we’re breaking two molds at once, the leadership model is in shreds and we’re trying to do the same thing, albeit in a good way, in New Media. Hopefully doing them both at the same time won’t turn us all in to raving fruitcakes. –



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