The Leader’s Greatest Vulnerabilities – Part 2

In my previous post, I started a discussion on the greatest vulnerabilities of leaders. And the first of these vulnerabilities can be summed up by this: the leader who loses touch with his team is vulnerable (at so many levels). In that post, I emphasized that leaders who isolate themselves from their team will struggle to make decisions that truly benefit their team members.

Leaders must be attentive to the needs of their team and keep their ears open to the voice of its members. Empathy is an essential quality of the effective leader.

However, that’s not to say that leaders must seek to obtain a consensus before they make a decision or launch in a direction. It simply means that they’re not driven by selfish ambitions and have no regard for the impacts of their decisions on the team members.

Many times leaders—much like parents—have to make difficult decisions that may not get unanimous support from the team members, but leaders must consider the effects of their decisions on their team. In fact, when making decisions that will impact their team, leaders should at least put themselves in the shoes of their members. Ideally, depending on the nature of the decision, they would seek feedback from members of their team before moving forward with the decision.

Let’s take a simple example. Let’s say that a manager is thinking about acquiring a new word processor for her team members to replace the “traditional” MS Word. If we consider that the new word processor cost half the price of MS Word and is just as efficient, the decision should be a no-brainer—at least on paper.

However, upon consulting her team, the manager may learn that her team members receive countless documents from various stakeholders in MS Word (and none in the format of that word processor). Now, if the new word processor is incompatible with MS Word, that’s a serious issue. Adopting this new word processor would significantly compromise the team’s operations.

Get this. As a leader, you need constant input from your team members. Be proactive in seeking it. There’s no reason for you to become oblivious to your team’s reality. Never close the lines of communication between you and your team members. When the lines of communication are obstructed, you become vulnerable. When you’re no longer sensitive to your team’s reality, you become vulnerable. When you can’t empathize with the people you lead, you become vulnerable.

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.