Five Ways In Which Stubbornness Can Impede Great Leadership


When it comes to leadership, stubbornness can be a downfall. Leaders can become so stubborn that it causes themselves and their organization to become stuck.

Jon Mertz, author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders, observed in an article that stubbornness isn’t a leadership virtue, but rather a failure. “The negative side of true stubbornness creates barriers at every turn and delivers missteps at great costs. When [a leader’s] ideas are the only ones worth considering, stalemate turns to dis-innovation, market share losses, and employee disengagement. When conversations drag on, reviewing ground already covered many times, the leader’s objective becomes wearing everyone down rather than getting the best ideas on the table. When an organizational culture remains stagnant, change will come by many employees seeking a position elsewhere, with more progressive and intentionally-based companies.”

Steward leaders exude wisdom and confidence so they can continue to make an impact in their community and in the lives of those they lead. However, stuck leaders hold on to past ideas and beliefs that can often lead to the organization’s destruction and its people’s demoralization.

Michel de Montaigne, one of the most highly regarded philosophers of the French Renaissance, once wrote that “stubborn and ardent clinging to one’s opinion is the best proof of stupidity.” It’s wise to have determination, but every leader must guard against stubbornness. Just as a business can get stuck in terms of performance, leaders can get stuck when faced with difficult decisions or choices.

The following are various instances in which you might get stuck in your own leadership. Consider each carefully, as these areas will often repeat ad infinitum in the course of business.

1. Defending A Person Whom You Actually Need To Confront

Leading people can be the most challenging aspect of any business. You need people to produce, but you know there will inevitably be a gap in some of their performances.

Many leaders finally come to the awareness that they might have the wrong person in the wrong place in their organization, yet they refuse to expose this truth. Keeping what they have in place seems preferable to making a bold decision to correct the person or right a wrong situation.

It is never good to ignore a correction that needs to be made. Confronting a team member’s behavior or attitude is difficult, but so is the agony of waiting month after month or year after year for someone to recognize their own mistakes and improve their performance.

2. Delaying A Decision That You Know You Need To Engage

It’s easy to delay decisions, especially tough ones. Still, this is one habit leaders develop that can sabotage their leadership. While leaders often know what decision they need to make, they get stuck in a pattern of being afraid to make it firmly.

Indecision is the worst decision of any leader. Leaders must lead with conviction.

3. Denying A Reality That You Know You Need To Embrace

Truth is not always easy to face. While stubborn leaders can fall into the temptation of not seeing the reality of a situation, ignoring problems will not make them go away. Often, not embracing a problem will only make it worse.

Indeed, one of the worst moments in the life of a leader is when they lose their boldness and courage to act in accordance with their values. When a leader neglects to embrace the truths they know, they miss the opportunity to take the right path forward.

4. Diminishing A Passion That You Need To Execute

Leaders who are unstuck have visions and passions that drive their organizations forward. The leader without passion sees no increase.

When a leader diminishes their passion, it never produces. Every company needs a dreamer and people who lead with passion. Leaders who avoid the trap of becoming stuck stay close to their dreams and vision. When leaders lose their passion, they can lose their way.

5. Disregarding A Problem That You Know You Need To Examine

One of the best gifts a leader can give to an organization is the ability to solve difficult problems. Good leaders solve easy problems, while great leaders solve difficult problems.

Leaders who lose their way are those who ignore or downplay issues the organization is facing. Sometimes the biggest problem a company has is its leader. The key to solving problems is to address them while they are small. Small problems grow into big problems, and small problems are always easier to solve than bigger problems.

Even the best leaders get stuck. Simply review the reasons that might be causing your leadership to stall, so you have the ability to get unstuck.



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