Unsuccessful Leaders Have All The Answers

January 2, 2012

Unsuccessful Leaders In his book, Why Smart Executives Fail, Sydney Finkelstein identified Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Leaders. It may not surprise you to learn that ego is at the root of many of these poor habits. When leaders get too enamored with success, themselves, or their organizations–or all three–they underestimate their vulnerability, obstacles, and competitors, and overestimate their own intelligence. And then they fail, often spectacularly.

Since Just Ask Leadership is built around the premise that great leaders need to ask questions, I’ll share with you Unsuccessful Habit #3: Unsuccessful leaders think they have all the answers.

When leaders think they have all the answers, here’s what happens:

1. They may not fully appreciate the consequences of their quick answers and decisions.

2. They don’t try to learn from others.

3. They believe that, because of their success, they will always enjoy future success. They have the golden touch.

4. They alienate their coworkers and the organization’s future leaders. After all, who wants to work for someone who thinks they have all the answers?

If you’re a successful leader, be proud of your success, but keep your ego in check. Be the one who asks the best questions, not the one who supplies all the answers.

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