Failure! 4 Mistakes Leaders Must Avoid

by  Will Lukang  |  Leadership Development

Leaders are known to inspire others to act and achieve goals that they otherwise would not be able to achieve themselves.     They challenge the status quo and break down barriers to help their constituents achieve their vision.

In many ways, leaders make things happen and affect change that moves the needle and transforms the company from an average firm to a top-notch firm on the street.   However, in spite of that, leaders are like anyone; that is they are also human.  Humans are bound to make mistakes and leaders are no exception.

Leaders have daily challenges like anyone else.  Such challenges could be health, family issues, and work place challenges to name a few.    Everyone has their own challenges; each person carries different size baggage every day.    So, what’s my point?   My point is that in order to achieve a sustainable level of performance, leaders must be self-aware and avoid the following mistakes:

  • Failure to continue to develop talent – developing talent is a critical part of a leader’s success.  They need to continue to develop and grow talents around them in order to keep up and compete with the competition.
  • Failure to drop non-performing assets – it is the leader‘s job to continue to sustain a level of performance, therefore the leaders must continue to challenge people around them.  When the leaders put a lot of weight on people’s prior performance history, they are more likely to let non-performance slide and it will eventually hold the company back.   It is the leader’s job to make sure people performing at a level that’s expected of them.    Therefore leaders must continue to challenge everyone around them and raise the bar.    If a person is not performing for a long period of time, they need to engage them in discussion and, worst case, let them go.
  • Failure to delegate (or doing too much themselves) – a leader needs to delegate and let others take on more responsibility over time.   In the short term, taking too much yourself is fine, but over a period of time, you must challenge everyone around you to take on more responsibility to enable you to focus on the strategy.
  • Failure to recognize the need for change – the only constant in life is change.     A leader must recognize when to change and transform and evolve an organization.   Failure to evolve could cause the leader to miss out on opportunity and affect the company’s ability to compete.

Leaders, like anyone, must continuously evolve and develop.  By avoiding the mistakes that I highlighted, they can continue to help the company stay competitive.    After all is said and done, the leader that knows when to change and effect change in a timely manner is the one that will succeed.


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About The Author

Articles By will-lukang
A dynamic, multi-faceted Information Technology Leader who demonstrates expertise in translating business needs into technology solutions that meet business objectives while developing strategies to optimize processes that improve efficiency and reduce costs. A certified coach, speaker and training from John Maxwell Team. A co-author of The Character-Based Leader.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach  |  07 Jun 2011  |  Reply

Hi Will,
This post inspires simple action with big results. Love the four points because it shows the constant balance that every leader must develop.

Truly an addition to the leadership discussion ..

Kelly Ketelboeter  |  07 Jun 2011  |  Reply

Hi Will,

Great post! I think you’re point on failing to drop non-performing assets is a critical one. All too often I see leaders that accept poor performance in one area for excellent performance in another. When they look the other way and ignore the poor performance they are actually endorsing it and others will follow suit. This creates an unnecessary chain reaction. Correcting performance isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually what a leader does when they want to keep the employee. Not a addressing a performance issue certainly doesn’t help the employee, the team or the company overall.


Will Lukang  |  14 Jun 2011  |  Reply

Hi Kelly,

Leaders are like anyone else, they need to address the non-performance to continue their quest to develop talent around them. By not addressing the issue of non-performance, it will potentially affect their ability to succeed.


Will Lukang

Beyond Horizons  |  14 Jun 2011  |  Reply

Hi Will,
Well put!
But I’d like to add one more mistake many leaders make – the failure to admit that, in certain cases, their employees might be more knowledgeable than them. Dismissing an input/opinion just because it comes from someone in a junior position may prove to be costly.

– Girish (http://www.beyondhorizons.in)

Will Lukang  |  14 Jun 2011  |  Reply

Hi Girish,

A true leaders know that they don’t need to have all the answers. It’s their ability to inspire others to act is what make them leaders. A leader motivate and help their constituents achieve goals they otherwise don’t believe they can accomplish. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Will Lukang

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