- Blog post
Why leaders fail
Why do people stop believing in a leader they once followed with confidence?
There are many possible answers to that question, but one stands out: The leader stops recognizing his or her limitations.
Here’s the thing: Credible leaders have built that credibility on a Confidence Base, a technical skill that helps them believe in themselves and get the favorable attention of their subordinates. This Confidence Base isn’t static; it grows with the leaders’ ability to develop that same talent with their employees.
Straying from the base
But if leaders become overconfident, or fail to exercise self-awareness, they may stray from their Confidence Base and start thinking they can succeed at anything they do. And unless they are extremely rare Renaissance men or women with few limitations, leaders who don’t acknowledge their limitations are doomed to fail.
Think of it this way: If you were getting work done on your house, would you allow the plumber to mess with the wiring? Of course not! You’d want the plumber to do his job, and you’d bring in other specialists to deal with everything else.
Lost in translation
Great leaders understand that exceptional skill in one area doesn’t necessarily translate to any other field. In your area of high competence, you are exceptional. But outside of it, you may only be ordinary, which isn’t even close to good enough in the competitive world we live in.
So ask yourself: Am I operating within my Confidence Base, or have I abandoned what made me successful in the first place? If the latter, it’s time for a reboot.
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Hubris and narcisissm-along with unresolved personal issues-are the downfall of many a leader-and have led to terrible consequences in organizations.