I recently posted part 1 of Why Leaders Fail.  Below you will find the final five reasons many leaders experience failure.

  1. They fail to prioritize– This is one I have seen destroy leaders from all walks of life.  When I say they fail to prioritize I am speaking of a failure with their families.  Many leaders both inside and outside the church lead at the expense of their children and spouses.  They miss sporting events, cut vacations short, leave before breakfast, and arrive home after dinner.  Failing on the home front leads to more than just leadership failure, it can lead to the collapse of your family as well. Every leader’s family will suffer in some ways, but no family should have to sacrifice their father, mother, or loving spouse for the sake of leadership. Learn to say no to things, so you can say yes to those who love and need you the most.  Make your family a top priority or face the fate of many failed leaders.
  2. They fail to communicate– After you have been a leader for some time, it is easy to start to think that everyone knows what you think.  This is especially true when you lead a single organization, company, or department for an extended period of time.  When a leader assumes everyone understands, they tend to start cutting corners when it comes to communication.  The results of poor communication in this scenario are very slow to mature into real problems, but they always do. Eventually things start to breakdown.  People become frustrated, ill informed, and unaware of the leaders expectations.  Clear, constant, communication is essential for any leader who desires to avoid failure.
  3. They fail to acknowledge– When a leader starts taking all the credit and giving away all of the blame failure is close at hand.  Good leaders take the blame and give the credit away to those who have earned it.  This in turn inspires, creates trust, and breeds loyalty in those who follow.  Getting the blame all of the time however is a thankless and frankly miserable part of leading.  So leaders naturally want in on the success and accolades that come with it, this does not make you a bad person, it simply makes you human.  The problem is as the leader you are always directly associated on some level with the victory.  Those who follow you however are not. Therefore it is imperative that you clearly communicate and give as much of the credit away as possible. Failing to acknowledge the work, dedication, and valuable participation of others will lead to failure over time.
  4. They fail to forgive– In both secular, and spiritual leadership roles I have seen this shortcoming destroy many leaders.  Holding a grudge, vowing to get even, or sweeping your bitterness toward someone under the rug ensures leadership defeat.  As a leader you will take many blows, and yes some of them will be low blows.  Many will be unfair, undeserved, and extremely hurtful.  People you love, and thought loved you will cause you pain.  No leader is exempt from this truth. If you fail to forgive however there is another truth that you cannot escape.  You will fail! Learning to forgive is perhaps the greatest thing I have seen God use over the past decade in my life as a leader.  True forgiveness as I speak of in my book “The Uncommon Church” has brought success after success for me as a leader. Fail to forgive, and you are certain to fail.
  5. They fail to forget– As I said at the start of this article all leaders fail.  Some however never move past their failures.  They dwell in defeat far to long.  I know many who have failed and then abandoned leadership all together, simply because they could not move past their past.  Others never try that thing, idea, or ministry again because of a previous failure.  Still others use their past failures as an excuse to become lazy, complacent, unmotivated leaders how just run on auto pilot so to speak.  Like all leaders I have had my fair share of failures, some have been small and others quite spectacular.  Despite the size of the failure, I learn what I can from the situation and then move on.  If needed I seek forgiveness, admit my wrongdoing and move on.  Don’t dwell in your failure, instead do your best to put it behind you and continue to allow God to lead through you.

No leader wants to fail, but all leaders will.  How you handle failure will in many ways determine your effectiveness and longevity as a leader.  If you can avoid failure altogether by understanding these common things that cause leaders to fail that will be even better.  May God richly bless all of those who dare to lead!

1 Timothy 5:17 NET “Elders who provide effective leadership must be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching.”