The Leader’s Greatest Vulnerabilities – Part 1

Leaders carry a heavy weight on their shoulders. They have to lead a team of people so that their organization (i.e., business, department, unit, church, etc.) hits its targets and reaches the next level.

Leaders perform many duties: they ensure each team member gets proper training; they set their team’s goals; they replace team members when they leave; they handle conflicts; they address performance issues; they plan and assign the work; they reflect on the future of their organization; etc.

Leaders feel pressure from all sides: clients have demands; the team has needs; the organization has objectives; etc.

With all they have to do, leaders can get so busy that they lose touch with their team. Therein lies one of their greatest vulnerabilities.

A leader who no longer “understands” the reality of his or her people is in trouble. In fact, the team and even the organization are in trouble. The inability of a leader to hear and empathize with his or her team is a serious vulnerability. Usually, the team and the organization (and the even the leader) end up suffering bitterly for this.

Often, leaders who are severed from their team drive decisions that make sense on paper but are impractical. And because leaders often no longer see the trees, but only the forest, they can’t appreciate the subtleties of each team member’s work. This disconnect creates a conflict between “theory” (where the leader lives) and “practice” (where the team operates). Without empathy, a leader struggles to bridge that gap between theory and practice.

Leaders possess a certain level of authority. In the context of a team, they have the longer side of the stick. That means, they can make decisions that impact their team with no obligation to even consider, during the decision-making process, the effects on the team. It’s rarely a good strategy. Leaders who choose that path suffer the grunt of a team that doesn’t feel supported by their leader—among other negative impacts.

Leaders decisions should have their team’s best interests at heart (while serving the interests of the organization, of course). And for that, leaders need empathy for their team members. They must come down from the sky and put their ear on the ground and listen.

Leaders who fail to recognize that they need their team just as much as their team needs them are bound to be ineffective.

If you’re a leader, you should strive not to lose touch with your team. You must be intentional about keeping a pulse on your team. If you’re not making concrete efforts to stay connected with your team members’ reality, I’m almost certain that you’re disconnected. Proof? Do one of your team members’ job for 2 hours, and you’ll realize how remote their reality is to you.

As a leader, staying connected with your team should remain on top of your priority list. No matter how busy it gets, stay close to your team.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.