I have a seed of a thought which I am trying to nurture into something with a little more substance. You know, when a thought just begins to tug at you, like your young toddler who just wants daddies attention and won’t take no for an answer.

This is my thought ‘Why do some leaders continue to improve their leadership credibility, while others frustratingly stay where they are or worse still fall by the way?’

It has become an all-consuming thought, every waking moment I am thinking about this question. Sharing elements of it with different people just to get their initial response, struggling to try and identify the various elements that could help me answer it. See I’ve been involved in leadership development for over 10 years now and I’ve read a book or two, so I know ‘the answers’. Therein lies my dilemma – in gathering evidence I don’t want the simple, one-dimensional manner answers – by which I mean the obvious stuff like bad attitude, lack of character, no ability – my desire is to get beneath them and possibly discover more depth. So, because of this train of thought, more questions have come to the surface as I have scratched the itch a little harder…

Can we answer why this happens? What makes the difference?

On the leadership journey how have they responded at the critical points? What are the critical points, what is involved in that part of the leadership process? How do they respond? What effect does it have, what were the results?

Deeper than that comes thoughts about the tests, do they perhaps form part of the critical points. Do we have to pass all these tests to increase our leadership credibility or not? Can we fail but still see our credible rise?

As a leader responsible for their development, what can I do to help them become unstuck, as it were?

As you can see – my mind is a muddle of questions, ideas, thoughts and concepts. Sieving through them is a struggle.

You can join in the discussion – are there any questions you would add? What thoughts do you bring? Is the theory complete nonsense or what?

5 thoughts on “Why Don’t Leaders Make It? (2)

  1. I think your thoughts are very true indeed, and these question themselves can help people become unstuck in their ways.
    I guess that leaders become stuck because first, it is comfortable just continuing doing what you always did, and secondly, there is a human tendency to find out what works once, and then applying that concept wherever we can. A true leader will always explore his boundaries, and take failure as another learning step.

    Getting people unstuck from their ways is a lot easier than we think, but only if the person wants that…

  2. Leaders fail when character is overtaken by gifting, or when gifting exceeds character. Leadership is influence in one form or another, and any leader whose character is deficient for the level of influence they possess is a disaster waiting to happen. Leadership is not designed to be isolated but rather accountable. Lack of accountability with lack of character is like dry ground without rain – whatever the potential of the seed – it’s going nowhere.

  3. Incidentally, while I like leadership materials and books, they don’t necessarily make for good leaders. Many ‘great leaders’ like William Booth were pretty hopeless at man management and had all the tact of an elephant, but somehow God managed to use them. There is a danger in Christian circles of reducing leadership in the church to a series of seminars rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to take us warts and all and use us in the ay He wants rather than the text books tell us we must be.

  4. hey, i saw your comment on jeff kapusta’s blog- I’m on his team… another great new book just out is rob bell’s new material “Sex God”…yep, catchy title, but supposed to be an awesome book for a marriage group like that.

  5. Jullian – I appreciate your thinking here. Judging from some of your other posts and blogroll I’m going to assume you have strong spiritual side, so I’d like to include that here, if I may.

    On a humorous yet relevant note, I recently posted Ten Truths About Life, which may actually apply to your inquiry here more than what shows on the surface. Truth # 9 on that list, “The answer lies inside you: All you have to do is look, listen, and trust,” is wholly true if one is indwelt with the Spirit.

    But from a personal perspective, having also (like you) delved into studying and teaching leadership for eighteen years, I believe that fear is at the root of all stalling in leadership growth and/or fading away from leadership altogether.

    It would be my perspective that people get comfortable with what works for them, and they fear stretching out to learn new things for fear that (a) they won’t be able to master their new learning so their effort will fail and they will look bad (a ripple effect of pride/ego), and (b) if they look bad they will lose their status / respectability / command authority.

    From the spiritual perspective, both of those are the result of not staying humble — that is, believing that it was the leader’s intelligence & abilities and not the grace of God that took him to where he/she is in a leadership role.

    That takes us back to # 9 of the “ten truths.” If we are truly staying humble and pliable and seeking the truth (aka Holy Spirit, because God is>/b> truth), then He will show where the next step of growth — usually some form of self-confrontation — is to occur.

    Any form of obstacle can hold us back (see again my book Living Toad Free, but pretty much every obstacle has its roots in fear.

    So — there’s some thoughts on which to chew. 🙂 Again, you’ve got a cool site going here …. I’ll check back later.

    – Dan Bobinski
    Workplace Excellence blog

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