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Solving 15 Reasons Leaders Won’t Lead


“I’m so frustrated because my boss won’t make decisions.”

Bennis said, “Failing organizations are usually over-managed and under-led.”

Leaders with titles who refuse to lead frustrate their teams. It’s more common than you might think. I regularly hear things like, “My boss refuses to move forward.”

15 Reasons leaders won’t lead:

  1. Failure to develope talented teams. They feel alone.
  2. They’ve been punished for first time failures.
  3. Lack of training, mentoring, and coaching.
  4. They can’t describe winning. Moving forward requires clear targets.
  5. Minutia dominates their day – can’t prioritize.
  6. They don’t feel supported. Followers have the power to make leaders.
  7. Lack of feedback. Most employees desire more feedback. They need to know how they are doing.
  8. Refusing to let go and trust others.
  9. Those over them are interventionists who jump in too quickly – over managed.
  10. They’re playing office politics. Outshining others is frowned on.
  11. They need the approval of others.
  12. Perfectionism – refusing to pull the trigger until everything’s in place.
  13. Mediocrity rules. Your organization doesn’t expect excellence. They’ve been coddled.
  14. Milestones and deadlines are too far in the future. There’s no urgency.
  15. Negative, critical work environments.


They were placed in leadership before they were ready. Leadership crushed them.

Causes and Cures:

Causes illuminate cures. Determine why your people aren’t performing and work toward enabling them.

Big tip #1:

Effective leadership begins with believing you can lead. Help sluggish leaders believe they can lead by tapping into their strengths and passions.

Big tip #2:

Provide and celebrate small wins. Celebrating small wins builds confidence for big wins.


Everyone can exert positive influence; they can lead. But, not everyone can execute under the pressures of a title and official responsibility. Leaders with titles who aren’t leading may not be leaders.


What can be done to help reluctant leaders lead?


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