The Limits of Leading from the Front Part 2

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Understanding Great Leadership

Further Traps and Pitfalls when Leading From The Front

The following looks at a few more of the more common traps and pitfalls associated with leading from the front.  Have a look at them and see if you recognize any of them.  Think about your own leadership style and see what you can learn about being out there.

Insufficient Thought and Poor Communications

Here are some other more common every day traps for the visionary leaders. They often don’t take people with them on the journey and expect their followers to just get it?  Typically they are poor communicators and or overly bullish and don’t understand why the lead to follow.  They may have a brilliant idea but they fail to inspire hope.  They fail to message correctly.  They may fail to engage in the pesky problems of having to communicate with the people they want to lead.  Often a potentially brilliant vision is simply not thought out well enough and crumbles under the weight of scrutiny.

Outstripping Your Followers and Leaving People Behind

Visionaries, or sometimes adventurers may outstrip the pace of change of the people they lead only to find themselves alone way out there in the distance isolated and without company.  Visionaries may become so enamoured by the beauty of their ideas that they fail to attend to the minutiae or they may simply fail to do the basics, leading to the crumbling of the foundations and the ultimate loss of confidence in the people who want to follow.

Often Visionaries fail to protect themselves and their vision from those who would destroy anything good.  Or more close to home they often fail to protect their vision from the human habit of opposing change.  Protection against those who would destroy the vision is a skill that requires enormous finesse and patience but it is doable.

A Dumb Vision

The Visionary, trailblazer, messiah, hope bringers ability to lead depends on how well they articulate their vision and how valuable that vision is to the followers. This requires a great deal of persuasion and may well heavily rely on the charisma of the leader.  What’s more there are many cases of people who have very well articulated visions, Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, they may well be very persuasive however half of the population has to accept subjugation or death in order for their vision to be implemented.  Without going into all the glaring logical problems let alone the hideous destruction caused by these examples they all had very well articulated visions.  Their visions however were dumb in design and implementation.

The visionary or the bringer of hope may have limitations.  However virtually all of the limitations have solutions.  A completely thought out, thoroughly tested vision, communicated effectively is always going to overcome many of the problems associated with visionary leadership.  Having said that the visionary can be vastly more effective with less effort in the leading of people simply because a great vision inspires hope and therefore inspires engagement.

Insufficient Power, Authority, Influence and Persuasion

The power of the visionary leader depends heavily on their ability to persuade enough people.  Needless to say when their are strong opposing voices it is easy for this kind of leadership to be muddied and bespoiled by campaigns of misinformation and counter argument.  Cicero was a grand example of such a leader.  He was the first Senator in the Roman Senate to have achieved his status from lowly beginnings all on the strength of his oratory.  At the time all Roman senators were from wealthy powerful families and needless to say they worked to gain advantage for their own interests.  Rarely do you get a leader that is so inspirational that they can overcome opposition through the sheer power of their ideas.  What is exciting though is it can happen.

In The Next Post

We’re going to start to unravel the mysteries around the best definition / type of leadership is?  What makes a brilliant leader versus just any other leader.  There are many characteristics however in the next set of posts we are going to explore the foundations of great leadership and begin to unpack a model of leadership that is highly effective, highly adaptable and if you are dedicated you can master it.

For now these are  just some things to think about?




Series Navigation<< The Weakness of Leading From the Front Part 1The Foundations Of Great Leadership >>