Overview: The temptations of leadership are as subtle as they are dangerous. Immature leaders grow addicted to the power their statuses grant them. Others may do everything to get employees to like them. Failure to avoid temptation derails leadership and hurts organizations.
“I can resist everything except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde.
Leadership is an interesting position. It entails struggle, pressure, power, authority, and the ability to make differences. It also grants wonderful rewards to those who know how to navigate its temptations and succeed in empowering and inspiring people to positively impact lives and change destinies for the better.
Temptations are the most challenging trials leadership can throw at those who venture into its unforgiving realm. Most leaders who fail do so by succumbing to these temptations.
How does leadership tempt its disciples? What subtly dangerous hurdles does it raise?
The Most Prominent Temptations of Leadership
People often find it impossible to pinpoint the reason for the lack of success of a product, team, or organization. They seek complicated answers, believing the problems they face are equally daunting and multifaceted.
Leadership coaching understands how leadership temptations work. They sneak up on the best leaders and ensnare them without victims realizing their predicaments.
The Need to Be Liked
Intelligent leaders empower, inspire, motivate, and help people achieve. To accomplish such ambitious deeds, a leader must be a friend to his or her employees or at least be someone people like, right?
Nothing could be further from the truth. Leadership is about trust and honesty. While friendships draw on these virtues as well, they always involve kindhearted fibs and lenience.
Being a friend to employees prevents leaders from providing honest, impactful feedback. By denying employees this type of feedback, leaders hamstring their development and cause them harm. They also sabotage results their teams produce.
Leaders who fear alienating employees by giving honest feedback are unfit to lead.
Getting Drunk on Being in Charge
We all like the idea of having some degree of control over our environments or other people. Some of us like being in charge too much, however. People who enjoy the status of leadership find it impossible to avoid temptation.
Whether they lead large corporations or small mom-and-pop companies, leaders who love their statuses and the power they’re later granted inevitably sabotage their leadership. Here’s how:
Power-drunk executives create environments that corrupt organizational cultures. Their cult-like ways of leading prompt people to allow the gravity of leaders to distort decisions. They no longer make choices to benefit organizations or help fulfill specific purposes. First and utmost, they seek to curry favor with leaders.
As a consequence of such skewed decision-making cultures, results suffer and organizations derail.
Thirsting for Certainty
In life and leadership, certainty is an illusion. From the perspective of executive coaching, leaders’ need for certainty is a significant handicap.
We all like to make good decisions. We want our decisions to lead to success. In some leaders, this need is so strong, they want to be certain they’ve accounted for all variables before making decisions.
A leader’s need for certainty paralyzes decision-making and leads to never-ending dithering. Leadership indecision hurts employee morale and motivation, causing dismal outcomes.
Seeking Harmony and Consensus
Leaders must be good conflict managers, but some may find themselves so addicted to consensus and harmony that they avoid conflict at all costs.
Conflicts contribute to discussions and processes that lead to better decisions. Executive coaching recognizes the benefits of constructive conflict. Out of the cauldron of passionate discussions and through the filter of critical thinking, leaders can derive decisions they wouldn’t be able to make otherwise.
Overcoming these temptations is what makes leadership so challenging and rewarding. Mature leaders that navigate these temptations can change lives and leave their marks on the world.