Tony’s Top 5: Why New Leaders Fail

Accepting your first leadership role can be both exciting and challenging. New leaders are faced with numerous obstacles, some of which are obvious, and others that are more subtle and complex. It is common for first-timers to get lost in demonstrating their worth, rather than focusing on learning how to manage themselves, and their team effectively.

I have summarised what I believe to be the top 5 reasons why new leaders fail:

1. They don’t take the time to build key relationships

• New Leaders often are so busy proving they deserve their new title that they fail to invest time into identifying and building relationships with key stakeholders. Often the relationships that need the most attention are not with other leaders in the organisation, but with those that will carry out the work.

2. The power goes to their head (self-serving vs. serving the team)

• Every role comes with a perception of power based on where the position sits within a company’s organisational structure. Many new leaders misinterpret the idea of who serves who. The world of “my team are my subordinates and they work for me” is over. Remember: your team are your clients, and as their leader, you work for them.

3. Too much talking, not enough listening – you don’t learn anything with your mouth open

• New Leaders often feel they need to have all the answers and solutions and talk too much. Some of the best leaders listen more than they talk. They don’t make statements but ask questions – seeking the best solutions from the team as a collective.

4. They fear decision making

• This can delay important decisions being made, particularly in relation to HR issues. This is often due to the new leader lacking the confidence, skills or experience in making certain decisions. The fear of making a mistake can be paralysing for some newbies.

5. They fail to set clear expectations

• New leaders are frequently unprepared to deal with the realities of managing a team, so they either ignore problems that arise or react poorly to them. This occurs as they fail to set the ground rules from the beginning. Leaders need to not only set and stand by their expectations, but directly ask their new team what they expect of their leader, how they like to receive feedback, and how they like to communicate.
• Being a leader is never easy, but if you are open to listening, learning, discussing mistakes, and looking for solutions, the journey can be enjoyable.


Want to hear more expert advice from Tony on leadership? Come along and hear from the guru himself at the upcoming ‘Coaching for Leaders’ workshop on the 29thMay 2019. Contact us for more information.