What really causes leaders to fail?

Is it your previous experiences, motivation to lead, educational background…or something else?

The top reason for a leader’s failure is the inability or unwillingness to build relationships and a team environment”, according to global survey data released by Right Management.

A recent survey of 1,439 CEO’s and HR professionals from 707 companies globally explored leadership effectiveness and development across regions and cultures.

“What emerges from the survey analysis is that leadership success is increasingly dependent on getting along with others in the organization as well as with one’s own team. A leader must be able to connect, build relationships and be flexible enough to adapt to the corporate culture” (my italics), reported the article.

“Predictor of Leadership Success
(Frequency cited by respondents)

  1. Fit with company values and culture
  2. 68% Interpersonal skills 66%
  3. Motivation to lead 62%
  4. Previous experiences 57%
  5. Lack of derailers 21%
  6. Educational background 11%
  7. Other 4%”

Are you surprised that all of these predictors line up with scales that measure emotional intelligence?

Ask yourself:

Personally – are you motivated?  adaptable? self aware? You have to want this.
And interpersonally – can you read others? do you know how to get along? are you a good team player? can you be a leader? You have to be motivated to do this.

All these depend on your emotional intelligence. You see, it takes a certain IQ to get to certain leadership levels. At school your IQ made a big difference because of the span of IQ levels. But once you reach that level of leadership, competition is tight because so has all your competition. So the only thing at that level that can make the difference for success is your emotional intelligence (EQ).

The good news

The good news is that the above qualities are learned competencies, e.g. staying calm under pressure, and how you listen is a key skill of empathy.

We all live by the habits we’ve learned long ago. What we have to do is practise these new habits till they become natural. It takes motivation and effort.

If you have a clear vision of what a bright future will look like and communicate that constantly, if your values align with company values and culture, and you build your interpersonal skills, then you have a good chance of successfully leading your team or company to that place.