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Why Leaders Fail and How to Rise Above Your Situation?

When we think of leaders, we think of people having thousands of people at their disposal. Leadership doesn’t need to be external. It can also be internal. You can be leading a small club, a small community, or even a small company and still thrive and achieve greatness. 

Many leaders have good intentions at heart, but they are unable to do justice to their job. Why leaders fail at their job is hence a predicament-one that we are trying to solve through this article today. 

If you are looking for reasons why leaders fail and how to fix it, continue reading ahead. 

12 Most Common Reasons Why Leaders Fail

1. They Lack Proven Leadership Qualities

It is easy to blame external factors and even your team for your shortcomings. But good leaders can see through their facade and recognize their failures. They can look at themselves objectively and decide the areas that need fixing. 

People who are full of arrogance, vanity, and pride will always find faults in others and will never be self-aware enough to fix themselves. This is why people who are not humble and can not accept their mistakes will always fail as leaders. 

2. Don’t Own Up Their Decisions-Even if They Have Messed Up Real Bad

Every person-know matter how competent, is vulnerable at some point in their life. Even great leaders who have always done a great job can fail miserably. But that is not important. What is important is that leaders own up to the decisions they have taken. 

When leaders shy away from accepting fault and taking responsibility, they lose the trust of their team in their leadership capabilities. People start seeing them in a negative light.

why leaders fail

3. Over-Confidence Blurs Judgement

Leaders should be confident, not just in their capabilities, but in any decision they take. However, this confidence can very easily become over-confidence. 

After a couple of successes and wins, people start believing that they can overcome any hurdle or difficult situation easily. They don’t pay much attention to details and overlook potential issues with their decisions. This is another reason why leaders fail big time. 

4. They Can Not Inculcate a Positive Team-Building Attitude

No leader can succeed alone; they need a team. Without a functional and strong team, a leader can not succeed in any of their endeavors. Weak leadership fails to build a strong team. 

These leaders are unable to inculcate a positive environment where each member of their team can thrive and reach their full potential. Leaders who concentrate on only a few members and only back them up end up failing miserably. 

5. Fail to See the Grand Scheme of Things

Leaders with myopic visions end up making decisions that prove worthwhile in the short run but prove disastrous in the long run. A leader has to take all little things into account, so he can land on the right decision. The need to make an easy and convenient decision also stems from a lack of confidence in one’s abilities. 

These leaders want to show others they can win, so they will take any decision that is sure to succeed in the short run, even if the decision comes at the cost of the company. 

6. Bad Communication Reduces Trust in Leadership

Leaders often share the what of things, but never the why of things. Contrary to the popular belief, your team wants to know how they failed you or the company. People who are eager to learn will take any constructive criticism well. Leaders need to communicate when they feel their team is not putting in all their efforts. 

Similarly, leaders also need to communicate about their shortcomings when they can’t perform a task well. Honesty goes a long way-especially when people are looking up to you and finding ways to relate with you. 

7. Lack of Consistency- Not Having Steady Moral and Ethical Beliefs

When leaders make decisions on a whim, they often end up failing. Behind every action, there needs to be a clear set of principles and beliefs that reflect your personality. Leaders with a high moral and ethical compass end up inspiring their team. 

They are also able to do right by the company even when it seems extremely difficult. People who walk the talk are better partners, so you will have a lot of people in the market willing to collaborate and work for you. All this will contribute to your success. 

8. Failure to Listen and Embody Diverse Opinions

Leaders are chosen for their superior intellect and ability to govern others. Like others, leaders also need help, and they should not shy away from asking for help. When leaders start believing they are self-sufficient, they start rejecting good advice that comes their way. 

They also tend to get extremely defensive when their team members point out flaws in their plans. A good leader would allow room for disagreements and welcomes their team’s valuable opinion. 

9. Fail to Cultivate Strong Relationships

In the world of Football, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal made history when they were seen holding each other’s hands and supporting each other. Similarly, good leaders can make lifelong friendships even with their competitors. This is a testament to their character and their personality. Leaders who made ad-hoc relationships fail in this highly competitive market. 

When they need somebody for a favor, they rarely have anyone coming forward. This contributes to their failure as team leaders. 

10. Fail to Sustain Good Relationships

Even in the best-case scenario where leaders can make meaningful relations, they are seldom able to keep them for very long. Since they treat people as disposable and replaceable, they will also treat their relations on an ad-hoc basis: using them when it’s necessary and throwing them out when the purpose is fulfilled. 

When others realize that they are not being given their due importance, they feel resistant to keep in touch with the leader. They slowly distance themselves, until they are nowhere to be found. 

11. Make Unrealistic Goals and Expect the Impossible

It is good to have a broad vision and work towards achieving that vision. However, leaders who overestimate the resources they have to end up falling hard. They either fail to realize that their company can not allocate the finances they are looking for, or they fail to recognize the shortcomings of their team. 

Take a cricket team’s captain as an example. If he is playing with a very weak team, and he expects to win the world cup in their first year, he will end up being disappointed. 

12. Unwilling to Make Compromises

When you look at the big picture, you often need to let go of smaller things. Leaders who are prone to failure tend to do the opposite. Since they have such grand schemes in their heads, and they are looking for gold and glory, they will seldom compromise on little things. 

Good leaders can often overlook the petty mistakes of others, or ignore the additional costs they have to bear for a project if the result is really good. Failure to compromise for the sake of the end goal makes them prone to failure. 

7 Early Signs of Leadership Failure

Failing at your job is not bad. Failing at it and not recognizing that there is a problem is what leads to a lot of problems. Most leaders don’t want to acknowledge when they are not performing well. They try to brush their failures under the carpet. But they shouldn’t. If you are unsure of your performance, here are 7 early signs to look out for. The presence of these indicates that you are failing as a leader

1. Your employees are happy and discontented with the work- and with you. 

2. Employees are not communicating with you and not sharing their concerns with you. 

3. You notice only the top hierarchy engaging with you and not anyone else.

4. You are failing at the small goals you have set out for the company repeatedly.

5. Employees feel less motivated and are not trying to go up and beyond for the company. 

6. The culture is hostile, and you don’t see team members backing each other up. 

7. You notice a lack of responsibility taking on your part.

3 Major Effects of Leadership Failure

A leader may think that their failure affects them only. Wouldn’t it be simple if it did? But sadly, that is not the case. When leadership fails, the consequences trickle down and affect every last person on the team. This is why it sucks when leaders fail. Here are some effects of leadership failure. 

1. The Team Feels Dissociated From the Goal

A team that does not trust its leader ends up losing any motivation to work toward the goal. They may still put in the hours and their time, but they will not put their heart and soul into achieving that dream. 

These employees will often feel a lack of direction from their managers and will have no idea how to move forward and with what resources. At the end of the day, you will have a disengaged and demotivated team that does the bare minimum. 

2. Low Retention of Employees

Every good and passionate employee wants to work under a team leader who trusts them and motivates them. When leadership fails in doing their job, the employee feels less incentivized to stay in that particular job-even if it pays well. 

The employee would probably go out and look for companies with strong and motivated leadership that can get the best out of him as well. Moreover, the employee can also feel undervalued and underappreciated when working with poor leadership. This further takes away any reservations he might have about leaving the job. 

3. An Inhospitable Work Environment

Employees love working in companies where they feel like they belong. They need to be certain that their manager or team lead has their back, regardless of how many times they fail at a task. Leaders who invoke this level of trust in their team also end up getting the best out of their employees. 

When leaders fail, it contributes to an unfavorable culture filled with negativity and self-doubt. The leader may also project their shortcomings onto their team, thus further aggravating their team. 

Why do Leaders Fail in the Workplace?

Contrary to what people believe, poor leadership does not always stem from a person’s personality. Sometimes, there are other factors at play. Here are some things that contribute to why leaders fail in the workplace. 

1) External Stimuli- Circumstances and Situations

Leaders can give their best and still fail at things. But they are not to blame entirely. Sometimes, the market pressure is too high and the situation so unfavorable that even competent people make terrible decisions. Take the 2008 economic recession or the Covid pandemic, for example. The situation was so unfavorable to businesses all over the world that even good leaders were failing at their job. 

Other external stimuli include a lack of resources, the political situation of your city/country, or organizational hurdles. 

2) Internal Stimuli-the Personal Clashes With the Professional

Even when leaders want to give it their all, the problems of their personal life acts as a big hurdle. Sometimes you can get over these hurdles very quickly, other times, they drag you down with them. This is not to say that the leader is weak, it simply means that the leader is human. 

In most scenarios, these shortcomings and failures are short-lived and leaders can rise above their situation pretty quickly-all they need a little time. 

3) Leaders Personality- The Absence of Important Traits

If the situation is ripe with opportunity and the leader still fails to cash in on it, this simply means that the leader lacks the basic qualities needed for success. This can be a lack of confidence, integrity, honesty, or a combination of these things. 

Some people lack the basic diplomatic skills that are needed to survive in the corporate world, while others are extremely introverted and can not make solid connections. Regardless of the reasons, leaders with inadequate personality traits suffer badly. 

why leaders fail

8 Steps to Follow if You Want to Be a Great Leader

If you compare all great leaders of the past, they will all have similar traits that made them successful. Here are 8 ways in which you can overcome your shortcomings and pave your way to success. 

1) Communication Is Key

Regardless of how bad the news is, never shy away from sharing it with your team members. They need to know why something is important and why it matters before they can embark on a journey with you. Trust them enough to understand. Be open and honest in your communication. 

2) Be Open to Advice

Greatness can not be achieved alone. Consider your team members to be equal, not inferior, to you. Pay attention to what they are saying and why they are saying it. By incorporating their ideas in the grand scheme of things, you will be able to succeed a lot more than you currently do. 

3) Validate and Motivate People

People, whether they are dealing with you personally or professionally, need validation. They need to know that their efforts and their work is impactful and important. Make sure you go the extra mile to make your team members feel worthwhile and an integral part of the company. 

4) Positivity Goes a Long Way

You will not always succeed, but you don’t have to be miserable every time you hit an empty road. Your team needs to know that you have their backs even when they fail at something. This will create an unbreakable bond between you-something that will contribute to your success in the long run. 

5) Inspire, Not Command

You can tell someone to be honest, hardworking, or extremely passionate, and they may never listen. You show them how, to be honest, hardworking, and passionate, and they will follow you anywhere. To succeed, you need to teach people to do the right things. The only way you can is to show them how. 

6) Be Kind and Be Realistic: 

As a boss, you may need to make tough decisions sometimes. But never let go of your kindness and your compassion. Be considerate of other people’s problems and concerns. When you set clear and realistic goals for your employees, they will be more than happy to do the tasks well. Unrealistic deadlines and expectations can demotivate your team. 

7) Cultivate the Right Kind of Environment: 

Your team members should look forward to coming to the office every day. Life can become quite mundane sometimes, you have to ensure that office does not contribute to that. Make sure to include fun activities, outings, and even small parties to help keep your team engaged and motivated. 

8) Work on Yourself: 

Self-awareness and self-growth will take you places. Always be open to suggestions-whether they come from your own heart or your team members. Realize that you are just a human with limitations and that there is always room for improvement. 

How Can Best Diplomats Help You Avoid Leadership Failure?

Some things in life are easier said than done; learning good leadership skills is one of them. Some people spend decades learning the art and still don’t get the hang of it. Others learn it in a matter of days. If you want to be part of the latter, come join us at Best Diplomats. 

Through a plethora of conferences and engaging activities, our candidates learn all that is required to exceed expectations in their role as future leaders. You learn advocacy, diplomacy, the art of making connections, speaking, refuting, and most importantly, the art of leading your team. Best Diplomats give you the opportunity of a lifetime. Hard to believe, right? Come, we will show you. All the information you need is right here. 

why leaders fail


A good GPA and good academic skills help you land a job. But to grow in your profession and move up the social ladder, you need something else entirely. The ability to command a room and lead takes you places. It separates you from others and makes you a unique addition to any company. 

If you are struggling with leading and failing, again and again, it is okay. It takes a while to get used to the pressure. But you can fasten up the journey and learn all you need in a matter of three days. Register with Best Diplomats and embark on this life-changing journey with us. 


What Are the 5 Big Problems With Leadership?

Apart from the external challenges faced by leaders, many experience internal challenges as well. These include a lack of self-confidence, impatience, and arrogance, resistance when dealing with new opportunities, putting up a facade to please others. All this can reduce the authenticity of a leader and make them more prone to failure. 

Why Do Leaders Lose Their Way?

When looking to chase their dreams, leaders have two options. They can either look for external gratification or internal satisfaction. The former requires validation from others. You will retain your confidence as long as others are pleased with your work. This is counterintuitive to good leadership. Leaders need to prioritize internal satisfaction; they will be compelled to carry on their work because they are giving in their best. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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