Can leaders have fatal weaknesses?

This post started life as a discussion point on my Facebook page when I asked the question “What do you consider to be fatal weaknesses of a leader?”

All leaders have weaknesses, but leaders can overcome this by drawing team members around him/her whose strengths are in those areas where the leader is weak.  However, as you can see, it may not be possible to continue leading if some areas are not addressed by the leader.

Karen Lawrence said “lack of courage to call to account – I suppose that the need to be popular over the need to confront lack of growth may be the root of that. I know I, and those I am trying to lead, have suffered for that – not now though!”

The desire to be popular is a killer.  Don’t seek to become a leader to be popular.  It doesn’t work like that.  Don’t seek affirmation or approval by becoming a leader.  Some of the most successful leaders are “servant leaders”, – deferring to others, building up and encouraging others until the leader makes himself indispensable.

Chris Allen Coaching said “I think also when people are afraid to tell the leader the truth because of a sense that they need to make the leader feel good or right about what they are doing. I think a true leader will communicate that even if they don’t like it, they need and want to hear how people really feel and the truth generally.”

I think that Chris is referring here to a “fear of man” and also a fear of rejection.  Doesn’t this again allude to a need for affirmation and approval.  Chris also encourages us, the followers, to be truthful to our leaders.  Some leaders need to know how to receive constructive feedback as they may only hear criticism (see my post on this subject here.)

What I also observed from these responses is that “communication is key.”  It is a two-way street, can be done in a number of ways, but is a MUST for everyone.  Build relationship, speak the truth, and be prepared to be held to account.  Leaders, these are good places to start.

So how would you answer the question?

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About katehobbs

Mother to two who are now independant and living away from home. Wife to Steve, for the last 26yrs and looking forward to many more years. I have enjoyed 18 months in the Okanagan, something that I have longed to have the opportunity to do for a while. Living a dream, you could say. Now, I am interning with Living Waters Canada based in Vancouver until end of April 2013. I love to grow my own food - it tastes so much better. I also build up, train and encourage others to achieve more than they thought possible.
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2 Responses to Can leaders have fatal weaknesses?

  1. Well this is a very topical post considering the plight of the French leader jailed in NYC.
    I suppose imagining power and control without limits or consequences comes to mind.
    Inappropriate sexual behavior, plans of domination (world, regional or even company) seem to plague more than a few leaders.
    Riley

    • katehobbs says:

      Hi Riley
      Thanks for adding more to the list. I was drawn to your comment “imagining power and control without limits or consequences” and totally agree that a leader who does not accept personal responsibility is flawed.
      Wow, so much to think about and to ensure that I deal with. At the end of the day, I believe that the motivation and attitude of heart speaks louder than anything else.
      Kate

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