Children racing and Overcoming Ways Leaders Fail

Have you ever questioned if you are a great leader? If so, you might not know how to get past what is stopping you from becoming an exceptional leader. So what do you do? Many people have found success through research done by Anne Morriss, Robin Ely and Frances Frei who highlighted five main reasons why people hold themselves back from becoming exceptional leaders. See if any of these reasons relate to you and how this can help you in overcoming the ways leaders fail.

  1. Being selfish

This occurs when you think too much about your own personal goals whilst working at the company. To overcome this, you need to focus on supporting your team, not just your employees but also customers, the CEO and the business itself. When you move away from worrying about your own position and listen you can begin to solve conflicts and identify issues.

  1. Protecting your self image

This is the ideal self you have created in your mind and not wanting to veer away from it. The need to be liked can stop you from challenging existing norms. To be victorious you need to think about the impact of your decisions, do not let your emotions affect your decision making.

  1. Creating enemies

Another behaviour barrier is the act of turning those you don’t get along with into enemies. Conflict can cause you to distort the image of a person in your head and dismiss their abilities. Take a look at how you engage with colleagues who disagree with you, their reasoning for having an opposed view may be more in-depth than you initially thought.

  1. Going it alone

The belief that you would be a manager going it alone can also be a reason to not become one, the idea of when things don’t work out you will be blamed. Surround yourself with a supportive team that believes in your capabilities, your team could include family, colleagues and friends, ask them for advice if you ever have any doubts.

  1. Waiting for permission

Exceptional leaders do not wait for permission to begin making changes or wait for someone to recognise their efforts. Have faith in yourself and your judgement but learn from your mistakes – they will happen.  Healthy organisations reward people who decide on their own, you must simply begin.

Now that you know what pitfalls to avoid, you’re ready to become an exceptional leader.

This article was written by Journee Schiphorst – Tutor


Morriss, A., Ely, R. Frei, F. (2011). Managing Yourself: Stop Holding Yourself Back. Retrieved from