Very few people go into leadership in business to cheat or do evil things. Yet all of us can do things we deeply regret unless we develop the means of staying centred within our leadership. These leaders are not bad people; they have just gone astray, and it is one of the crucial weakness in leadership weaknesses that makes them lose their way.
There are also two types of leaders which I have discussed in the previous article.
Why Leaders Lose Their Way?
In the seemingly never-ending revelations of scandals that have been exposed since fall of the media, politicians, and the general public have taken to characterizing their leaders as “bad people,” even to the point of considering them evil. The rest of our leaders have become suspect, as corporate executives are tied for dead last with used car salespeople in terms of the public trust. These overly simplistic notions of “good leaders” and “bad leaders” only serve to cloud our understanding of the nature of leadership in the business world and how good leaders can lose their way.
Leaders whose singular goal is the quest for power over others, unlimited wealth, or the fame that comes from success tend to look to others to give them a superficial sense of satisfaction and to attest to their greatness, if not their goodness. In public, as well as in private, these individuals exhibit ego-centeredness and is one of their leadership weaknesses that mekes them lose their way.
As their names appear more frequently in the media, they start to believe their press. As leaders of institutions, ultimately they come to think that they are the institution and that the institution cannot survive without them.
Not Everyone Starts As A Bad Leader
Most leaders don’t start this way. Yes, they like to be fairly compensated for their accomplishments and to have the material pleasures that come with them. Being given added power reinforces their success, and they enjoy the prestige that goes with it. But along the way, their success in these realms can go to their head, and they start seeking more and more external success until they cannot get enough.
It is at this point – at the height of their power, their fame, and their material wealth – that they are most susceptible to losing their way if they haven’t already lost it. This becomes one of leadership weaknesses of these good leaders making them lose the right path.
Why Leaders do Evil and illegal things?
Their string of successes creates a deep desire to keep it going, just as they feel more and more like imposters in their roles. Out of fear of losing their status and stature, they are prone to doing increasingly bizarre and even illegal things.
At this point, leaders are vulnerable to making big mistakes, such as violating the law or putting the very existence of their organization at risk. In their desperation to keep their success going, they may wind up stretching the rules beyond legal limits. In some cases, their distortions of reality and powers of persuasion enable them to convince themselves and others they are doing nothing wrong. Or they believe they can outsmart the enforcers of laws. Some rationalize that their deviations are acceptable because they are seeking to create a greater good.
In examining the behaviour of leaders at this stage, one may conclude that they lack a moral compass, a sense of their “true north,” that keeps them centred. Some may have had a moral compass originally but lost sight of it as they got caught up with external gratification.
Causes of Bad Behaviours
Let’s look deeper into the root causes of these behaviours. Losing touch with reality, which is one of the most common and dangerous traits of successful leaders, often results from the lack of introspection about who they are.
Underlying these tendencies may be an insatiable craving for success caused by a burning desire to overcome narcissistic wounds from childhood. These wounds may have been caused by perceptions that their parents did not love them; they are not good people or the trouble they had in making friends in their early years. So they try even harder to keep their string of accomplishments going so the external world will view them as highly successful.
In general, life when we talk about individuals, not everyone is perfect in life. People lose their way very often when they want to achieve something. Then there comes a time when they have to choose between the right path and the wrong one, that is the most critical decision of their life which makes them what we call ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Same is the case with leadership. Maybe leadership weaknesses are highlighted in this materialistic world than their strong points. Still, the real ‘Leader’ is the one who learns from mistakes and chooses the right path to eliminate his leadership weaknesses.
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” –Douglas MacArthur