Originally posted 16 February 2018 by Dawn Rasmussen
Why leaders fail has roots in many different reasons.
Talk to anyone, and it seems that most have had the experience of a bad boss. (I fondly call this type of supervisor “Bosszilla.”)
True to form, Bosszilla (aka the leader) spreads terror in their wake, and frequently squish people not wise enough to get out of their way, or eat those alive who dare to stand up in the face of such ferocity.
But let’s talk about why leaders fail.
And it’s about them, not you.
Spread the blame, keep the credit
This particular type of Bosszilla thrives in an environment where they like to diffuse blame onto others – either directly through accusations, or indirectly through whispers and murmurs.
It’s always someone else’s fault, according to them. (Sound like any bosses you know?)
This particular bad behavior of pushing the employees into harm’s way happens when things are going bad.
But interestingly enough, when things are going well, Bosszilla literally elbows their way up to the front to be the first recipient of kudos and recognition, keeping it all to themselves.
This is why leaders fail that are like Bosszilla.
It should be the exact opposite – letting the limelight fall on employees other than themselves when great things happen, and then stepping forward when things aren’t so rosy in order to take the heat off employees.
Applies to everyone else but them
This is when Bosszilla refuses to look in the mirror for a self-reflecting moment.
“Am I cause of this?”
“Did my leadership impact this situation?”
Their answer is that the rules only apply to others, not them.
Why leaders fail is when they don’t see how they are just as accountable as the lowest-paid person in the company.
Lack of self-awareness
Bosszilla with their tiny arms, and even tinier brain, oftentimes refuses to see themselves as part of a larger organization.
To them, it’s all about lumbering through the workplace forest, mowing down trees in their wake.
They don’t stop to think about the impact they are having on the organization, and that’s another reason why leaders fail.
Unwillingness to admit failure
Other reasons why Bosszilla is an example as to why leaders fail is when the chips are down, they won’t admit that they messed up.
How they handle loss, failure, or any other disappointment serves as the example they set within the organization.
Failure is never easy, but it is only complete when you don’t learn from mistakes. Proactive leaders will be willing to sit down, hear the hard facts, and do an autopsy to find out where things went south. And then learn from it.
A new breed of Bosszilla lurks out there. These are the creatures who have a throw-away mentality… they make a mess, and don’t care what they leave behind because there’s always someone else who will hire them… until they don’t.
These are the most dangerous creatures because every single employee is at risk from a self-centered, zero moral beast ready to destroy and without a care as to who or what they might hurt.
How NOT to be a leader that fails
The only inoculation you can get against transforming into Bosszilla lies within yourself.
It is a resolve and a desire to be BETTER.
You want to become a best-in-class leader.
And you can do this by taking formal training on management principles in supervising people, processes, finance, culture, and strategy.
And going into it with humbleness, willingness to learn, and active listening.
If you really want to not fail as a leader, the tools are already there at your disposal so you don’t.