Why Do Leaders Fail?

By Mark Bowser

Why do leaders fail?  This is a tricky question.  One with multiple depths of answers.  However, I believe there are two shining pillars that are always missing from leaders who fail.  Sometimes, these failing leaders are missing both of these pillars and at other times they are missing just one of them.  But, if either is missing, failure is inevitable.

What are these missing pillars?  They are Character and Vision.  Let’s take a few minutes to explore these pillars a bit deeper.

Hitler was a man of great vision.  A man who succeeded a great deal.   But, Hitler was a lousy leader.  Why?  Because of a lack of moral character. Yes, he thought he had character. Yes, many others thought he had character too.  But, to the masses of the world and of history, he lacked the basic moral character of honesty, uprightness, and love for  fellow human beings.  Because of this, he eventually failed.  We could get into the theological reasons for this failure, but that is one for another discussion.  All leaders who lack character at their core will fail. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.

The second pillar that is missing from leadership failures is vision.  Vision is vital. Vision is critical. King Solomon in the book of Proverbs said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  And perish indeed they will.  Where there is no vision or direction, people wander around in chaos with no purpose.  The human experience needs purpose.  We not only need purpose, we crave it.  Vision provides the purpose of the destination before the journey ever begins.

Successful leaders continually develop their two pillars.  They are mindful of their character and where they are going.  Would there be an America without a Washington?  Would there be two countries if not for Lincoln? Would England have survived World War Two without Churchill.  Will your organization thrive without you?  A you focused on incredible character and a vision worthy of the moon.  Some thoughts for us all to ponder.

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