How to Solve Five Issues that Sabotage Success
Doubt leaders who never doubt themselves.
Fools rush in. Wise leaders feel enthusiasm and concern when accepting new responsibilities.
Leaders who rush in:
- Have ambition that minimizes caution, blinds to weaknesses, and pollutes judgement.
- Don’t appreciate the impact of new responsibilities on organizations and teams. They cause problems because they see themselves as individual contributors.
- Need to see, accept, and compensate for personal limitations.
Trust leaders who know and acknowledge their weaknesses.
5 issues when accepting new responsibilities:
#1. Meaningful challenge.
- How meaningful is the project, problem, or initiative?
- How do new responsibilities align with personal goals, motivations, and talents?
- What does success look like?
Mediocrity is inevitable when outcomes are fuzzy.
#2. Support of top leadership.
- Who stands behind you? How?
- Do you feel a sense of mission?
- Is the new role top-of-mind or on the fringes of organizational life?
- Will your success be a badge of honor for higher-ups?
#3. Adequate status.
- How will others respond to your requests or direction?
- How is top leadership elevating your status?
- What new resources are at your disposal?
#4. Obstacles and resistance.
- What could go wrong?
- Who or what will resist, roadblock, or sabotage progress?
- Is top leadership aware of potential issues? Do they minimize the challenges you’ll face?
Trustworthy leaders look problems in the eye; untrustworthy minimize and explain away.
#5. Compensate for weakness.
Fools think they do everything well.
- What weaknesses sabotage your success? The weakness you don’t see destroys you.
- Is top leadership fully aware of your strengths and weakness?
- How will you compensate for weakness?
- How does top leadership provide support for your weaknesses? Do they just say, “Get it done,” without acknowledging challenges? Successful teams compensate for each other’s weaknesses.
New challenges bring out new strengths and weaknesses.
What issues should leaders address when accepting new opportunities, challenges, or responsibilities?
I like the point you make about leaders who “Don’t appreciate the impact of new responsibilities on organizations.. .they cause problems because they see themselves as individual contributors.”
As Jim Collins wrote in “Good to Great,” the very best leaders are ambitious for their organizations, rather than themselves.
Thanks Bruce. Gotta love the clarity of Collins on ambition. I’m glad you added your insights.
I think leaders should address fairness, equity and opportunities for employees when accepting new opportunities. People need leaders who can initiate and understand the employees. Employees need leaders who are connected with them and also create fairness. I agree with your point that mediocrity is inevitable when outcomes are fuzzy. When outcomes are known to all but no one actually is accountable, problem arise. At the same times when management are responsible and lower level employees are accountable, it create shaky environment. People start creating their safety net and avoid taking decision. They start shifting responsibility and worry for their position. By creating fairness and accountability, leaders create good working environment. When it happens, leaders also come to know the strength and weakness of each and every employee. They can take better steps to improve it.
Recognition to employees plays great role in creating workplace success. When people are more concerned about taking credit of others, then they start sabotaging the people and system. And leaders should be specially careful about such practices.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. It’s great to see you take this post to a new level. I found your exploration of accountability, fairness, and recognition important.
What seems key is that leaders understand employees. I take that to mean they understand motivations, communication styles, values, and skills, at least.
Everything a leader does has impact in one way or another! The quest to succeed has many tangents being accountable and holding others accountable is a key role. Everyone has to maintain an influence for the better as there is a fine line between success and failure.
Thanks Tim. My takeaway from your comment is the thin line between success and failure. It makes me uneasy, but, I must concur that your observation often applies. It seems the little things make a big difference.
I think too that the integrity with which one acts really determines the route the followers choose.
Thanks billgncs. It’s pretty hard to act boldly when our leaders lack integrity. 🙂 Good call
have a great Christmas
Thanks and Merry Christmas to you, too!
This post is spot on! The problem today is the proliferation of extravagant Leadership programs derived directly from or relate to ‘The Secret’ philosophy which discourages leaders from cautious rational thinking and common sense in favour of blind optimism. I have seen such leaders becoming bulldozers who are in denial of any possible adverse impact of their decisions or lack thereof in time. The weed is extremely difficult to irradicate. Your excellent post could be an eye opener for those of us who are still grounded to some extent. Thank you.
Thanks Dhananjay. Sadly, bulldozer-leadership is still admired in some circles. Cheers
Lately, I got new manager who is more ‘one man show’. He made some decisions (changes) that really caused huge problems within the organization. And this is exactly what was about. He caused the problem because he sees himself as an individual contributor.
I was wondered how to deal with it?
Than I have decided to give him a feedback, but put it on a personal level and explained how I felt. I have explained that it would be better to include me more in discussions in order to learn and develop more. He accepted and now trying to work on it. I see the progress; at least he is asking me for an opinion.
Thanks Milena. I’m sure many readers have experienced what you experienced. Thanks for sharing your insights and congratulations on dealing with a negative situation in a positive way. Best wishes.
I had a CAO once who had a mantra of “Get ‘er done”. The problem is that he did not listen to those who were resistant to HIS IDEAS who wanted to “Get ‘er done RIGHT!”.
Thanks Michael. Exactly!
Dan, I once changed jobs too quickly, and my decision became a disaster. I’d not done adequate due diligence because I wanted the change so badly, and after I had sold my home, bought a new home in a city 600+ miles away, and relocated, I reported to work only to be told the position no longer existed and I would be in a completely different job. I had thought I was moving up. Instead, I took a step backward. The new city was a bad fit for me; the company culture was not accepting of single females; the participative management style only worked for the plant employees; and I was a complete outcast, never able to find my niche. I was a perfect embodiment of your “leaders who rush in.” In the ensuing years before I retired, I developed a very successful career, but only after I had learned these lessons the hard way. Many thanks for all your point-on blogs; this is certainly another one.
Thanks Pat. I feel so much passion in your comment. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sure it will help readers. Some lessons we learn the hard way.