Gene Early PhD
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The Five Deadly Sins of Leadership
(And How to Avoid Them)
LAST UPDATED IN MARCH 2023
Sin #5: Having a ‘Fix Problem/s’ Focus.
It’s important to focus on employee engagement, rather than just fixing problems, for long-term profitability and productivity, Leaders who focus solely on weaknesses not only fail to deliver results, but also suffer from physical, mental, and emotional health issues due to stress. Instead, successful leaders pay attention to “tools of the trade” and use strategies to create engagement that increases productivity and profitability.
Sin #4: Ignoring Present Culture and Not Creating Engagement.
Lou Gerstner, credited with turning IBM around through strategic insight, said, “Culture isn’t an aspect of the game—it IS the game.” Culture is the foundation of an organisation - and it’s crucial to pay attention to it as a leader.
Neglecting the present culture and failing to create engagement can lead to a stagnant workplace that fails to reach its full potential. The culture of an organisation is equivalent to the character of a person. You can easily pay attention to culture by paying attention to your behaviour as a leader.
Like Jim Collins said, “You change the culture of a company by changing the behaviour of its leaders. You measure the change in culture by measuring the change in the personal behaviour of its leaders.”
Sin #3: Surrounding Yourself With B and C Tier Players.
Insecure leaders may fear being outshone and tend to surround themselves with ‘B’ and ‘C’ tier players.
However, as John Wooden, the most successful college basketball coach in US history, said, “You’re only as good as your inner circle.” Assembling, overseeing, and empowering great talent is crucial for success as a leader.
Sin #2: Confusing Vision with Financial Goals, Recognition, and Gain.
Leaders who focus solely on external results, such as financial goals, recognition, and gain, may end up endlessly chasing ‘more’ - even with low ROI.
Vision inspires leaders to reach beyond themselves and invest their life capital in something meaningful.
When work has purpose and meaning, personal satisfaction, outward accomplishment and inner peace follow.
You, as a leader, have as much potential as you are willing to claim. It is your choice and your legacy.
Sin #1: Considering Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness as Frustrating Distractions from the Real Work
“WHO YOU ARE speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you are saying.”
The degree to which you have identity issues is the degree to which your behaviour sends mixed signals, which confuses, rather than clarifies. “…leaders inspire in part because of how they have resolved their own identity issues.” (Howard Gardner).
Leaders who neglect emotional fitness and self-awareness miss out on important tools for success. Invest in self-awareness and self-development… ‘walk the talk’ of your expectations, and you’ll release your team’s full potential.