The Six Pitfalls of Leadership
The pitfalls of leadership spring from within.
Dangers that emerge from within are more perilous than dangers that attack from without.
The Six Pitfalls of Leadership:
#1. Perceived knowledge.
“Those who think they know, don’t.” DeBono
We feel like we know because we’re ignorant of what we don’t know.
In other words, ignorance leads to arrogance.
The ability to talk about something gives leaders the idea that they know more than they know.
#2. Isolation and disconnection.
The dangers of disconnection include confusion and delusion.
You cannot effectively utilize the energy, passion, and skill of others until you know who they are and what they do well.
Disconnected leaders gawk with wide-eyed surprise when they finalize realize what it takes to do what others are doing.
#3. Judging others through the lens of your strengths.
We have a tendency to wrongly believe the things we do are more difficult than the things others do.
What’s easy for one is difficult for another.
Trained weight lifters might find lifting 200 pounds easy. An untrained 10 year old might find lifting 200 pounds impossible.
Difficulty is defined by ability and capacity.
The ‘just get it done’ approach of arrogant leaders reflects disconnection.
#4. Failure to take responsibility.
Every complaint a leader makes about the performance of their team is a complaint about their own leadership. The question is, who is responsible?
Dysfunctional organizations reflect dysfunctional leadership.
The burden of leadership is responsibility for the complaints you lodge against the team you lead.
#5. Double standards.
- Expecting more from others than you expect from yourself.
Followers give meaning to leadership. No followers – No leadership.
In reality the people who DO the work make leadership.
The thing that makes you important is bolstering the importance of others.
The lost art of listening protects leaders from pitfalls.
What leadership pitfalls do you see?
What answers the pitfalls of leadership?
Wow; great and timely reminders!
“We feel like we know because we’re ignorant of what we don’t know.”
Great quote Dan. Reminds of one a friend once told me, “I just can’t remember everything I know.”
Another great quote. “Followers give meaning to leadership.” Reminds me of General Mark Welsh’s quote, “Leadership is a gift, given by those that follow.”
Great video of Welsh speaking to cadets at the US Air Force Academy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRgNVpCi6rY
Thanks Jim. Ooooo … Love the Welch quote. I’m off to see the video. Thanks again.
What resonates with me the most Dan is De Bonos quote… “Those who think they know, don’t.The Johari window is a great start to understanding what you know and what you don’t know. What others know about you and what others don’t know about you. By having the courage the explore what others know about you that you don’t know about yourself gives you the tools to improve your leadership skills.
Hey Caro. That’s my favorite DeBono quote. Years ago I was reading something he wrote and came across it.
I have to tell you that I used it on my signature file and someone I worked for got offended. He thought I was calling him dumb. 🙂
Exceptional leaders are also great learners, they never stop developing their leadership skills and recognize they don’t know everything. He obviously wasn’t a leader or a learner and lacked the insight to see beyond the words. The great thing is – you went onto become one of the foremost authorities on leadership in our time. He didn’t! So good for you Dan.
“The most difficult lessons you’ll ever learn are the ones you think you already know.” – John Wooden. Too often leaders think they’ve already learned the tough lessons. Leadership is a never-ending growing process.
Wow! great quote, Pat. When you see learning as an on going process then you have to hold on to the idea that you have something to learn.
I can’t even express fully in writing how accurate this is! I wish I could show my face of relief when reading through this. The whole time it was, yes, exactly! All so true. One day leadership will learn that “you cannot effectively utilize the energy, passion, and skill of others until you know who they are and what they do well”. This will happen in a beautiful place with unicorns and rainbows. (Sorry for the sarcasm, it’s just too real).
LOL… thanks Jiri. Love the reference to Unicorns. I’m heading out right now to refill my fairy-dust bag. It’s getting low and I’m sure I’ll be needing to sprinkle fairy-dust on someone in the near future.
Love #1, which leads to pretty much all the other problems on your list!
Mark Twain (I think) phrased it another way, which resonates with me too:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Thank you! Leaders in the 21st century will have to ‘unlearn’ a lot of things. I need to work on 2 pitfalls on that list.
Overconfidence in their own ability therefore retarding their growth,
Great thoughts , Very timely. .Your ipost remind me of a column in The Harvard Business Review
“The 15 Diseases of Leadership, According to Pope Francis”
Gary Hamel, April 14, 2015
I think it is so important that all leaders develop and use listening skills to learn ,reflect and act to keep growing as leaders.