The Pitfalls Of Leadership No One Warned You About

Regardless of why you have read, experienced or have been led to believe about leadership, it is not all it is made out to be. While leadership is essesntial to any organization and to every home, many times no one has taken the time or effort to explain the pitfalls or being a leader. You may have a phenomenal leadership team and a groundbreaking leadership paradigm in your organization, but you still can experience these pitfalls. While you want to believe and teach that leadership by pluarlity happens in your organization, the truth is there is someone who is THE leader. Think about it; if someone has to answer to a Board of Directors, it’s not going to be the team, it’s going to be the leader of that team. If the IRS audits your company, someone from you company must give an accounting and it’s not going to be a team.

Great leaders take responsibility for the direction of the organization, whether it be good or bad. Great leaders take bullets for the team and sometimes fight battles that no one else on the team would fight. Unity in a team is essential for building camaraderie and for accomplishing a task or a goal, but those who lead are subject to pitfalls that no one has ever taken the time to warn them about or coach them how to handle. While I am sure there are dozens, I want to list a few I have dealth with.


Loneliness happens more often than we think

You have heard the saying, “It’s lonely at the top.” There is deep truth in that saying. While others aspire to be at the top of the organizational food chain, they really do not know what they are asking for. What they see is prestige, money, power and success. They soon forget how the leader is criticized or is not included in social events of the team or is looked at as someone who cares about self. While some of those perceptions may be true, they are not always so. I have been around enough high capacity leaders to know they suffer from depression more so than others.

Leaders have not been taught to deal with failure

Leaders are trained and more often than not, manipulated to think they must succeed no matter the cost. While to me that can become a sinful behavior as it teaches you to have no respect for others, it  is the mantra of the corporate marketplace. After all, if you can’t compete and lead in your industry you will constantly be in the rear view mirror of your competitors. Success does not happen all the time, At times there are failures and they can be huge. A great  leader will know how to deal with the failure on a personal level as well as helping others deal with failure. While you may have never faced failure as a leader, you will and you need to be prepared to handle it or it will be a pit that you will fall in and not recover from.If you aren’t prepared for failure, you will fall victim to fustration and leadership disorientation.

Leaders have a storehouse of knowledge

Knowledge – the thing that any sucessful leader pursues. He who has knowledge has the upper hand. Knowledge can be used for good or for bad depending on the knowledge in hand. Knowledge is information. If you have information you hold the keys to making things happen. All knowledge is not good. Sometimes bits of knowledge fall into your possession that can ruin someone or ruin someone’s livelihood. What you do with knowledge is the key. Knowledge is a pitfall for leaders. Use knowledge for the good of building others up and building up the organization, but not at the expense of destroying lives. If you misuse knowledge, you will be looked upon as someone who cannot be trusted.

What other pitfalls of Leadership have you experienced?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • tracip70

    As Usual, another outstanding Article! I always learn so much from you Jeff! Thank you!

  • jeffcalloway

    Thanks Traci! I appreciate your encouragement and your blog as well!