Being a leader is an important job. Many people will look up to you and follow you and it is your job to make sure that yourself and them are successful in what you do.

This isn’t easy and being unprepared as a leader can result in failure.

As Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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Here are a few of the reasons why leaders may fail.

1. A Shift in Focus

Often leaders lose sight of what is important. They become distracted by the trappings of leadership and the focus that boosted them to the top disappears.

2. Poor Communication

A lack of focus and its resulting disorientation typically lead to poor communication. Followers can’t possibly understand a leader’s intent when the leader him- or herself isn’t sure what it is!

3. Risk Aversion

Leaders at risk often begin to be driven by a fear of failure rather than the desire to succeed. Past successes create pressure for leaders: “Will I be able to sustain outstanding performance?

4. Ethics Slip

A leader’s credibility is the result of two aspects:  what he or she does (competency) and who he or she is (character). A discrepancy between these two aspects creates an integrity problem.

5. Poor Self Management

Tragically, if a leader doesn’t take care of him- or herself, no one else will. Unless a leader is blessed to be surrounded by more-sensitive-than-normal followers, nobody will pick up on the signs of fatigue and stress. Leaders are often perceived to be superhuman, running on unlimited energy.

While leadership is invigorating, it is also tiring. Leaders who fail to take care of their physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs are headed for disaster.

6. Lost Love

The last warning sign of impending disaster that leaders need to heed is a move away from their first love and dream. Paradoxically, the hard work of leadership should be fulfilling and even fun. But when leaders lose sight of the dream that compelled them to accept the responsibility of leadership, they can find themselves working for causes that mean little to them.


So if you in a leadership role or are heading for the big time just make sure you don’t lose sight of any of the above. The last thing you want to do after coming so far is to fall at the first hurdle.