Mindset Mastery 146 – Where Leaders Fail

Mindset Mastery eBookIt helps to know as much about the causes of failure as the causes of success; for the simple reason that when you know why people fail, you know what to avoid. In this next part of the book, Napoleon Hill shows us how leaders typically fail.

The 10 Major Causes Of Failure In Leadership

We come now to the major faults of leaders who fail, because it is just as essential to know what not to do as it is to know what to do.

1. Inability to organize details. Efficient leadership calls for the ability to organize and to master details. No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do anything required of him in his capacity as leader. When a person, whether a leader or follower, admits that he or she is “too busy” to change plans, or to give attention to any emergency, he or she admits inefficiency. The successful leader must be the master of all details connected with the position. That means, of course, that he or she must learn to delegate responsibility to those under him or her.

2. Unwillingness to render humble service. Truly great leaders are willing, when the occasion demands, to perform any sort of labor they would ask another to perform. “The greatest among ye shall be the servant of all” is a truth which all able leaders observe and respect.

3. Expectation of pay for what they “know” instead of what they do with what they know. The world does not pay people for what they “know.” It pays them for what they do, or induce others to do.

4. Fear of competition from followers. The leader who fears that one of his followers may take his or her position is practically sure to realize that fear sooner or later. The able leader trains understudies to whom may be delegated, at will, any of the details of the position. This is the only way a leader can successfully ‘multiply’ him- or herself and be in many places, giving attention to many things at one time. It is an eternal truth that people receive more pay for their ability to get others to perform than they could possibly earn by their own efforts. An efficient leader may, through knowledge of his or her job and the magnetism of his or her personality, greatly increase the efficiency of others, and induce them to work harder and better than they could without his or her leadership.

5. Lack of imagination. Without imagination, the leader is incapable of meeting emergencies, and of creating plans to guide followers efficiently.

An Abundance Of Failed Leaders

No doubt you can probably match at least one, and probably many more, examples of failures as leaders to each of these traits. The key for you is to learn from those failures, look where in your life you may have done these things, and make corrections now.

This does not complete the Napoleon Hill list of failed leadership traits. Come back for the next Mindset Mastery installment so we can complete the other half of the list.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
Aussie Internet Marketer © 2004 – 2009

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Fantastic thoughts Sean, we see these failures around us all the time.
    .-= Alan´s last blog ..Coffin Bride Child Costume =-.

  2. I believe that number 3 is a big one.

    Unfortunately I see it day in and day out in the world where people are “paid” for what they do know (yet they do not apply it). Sometimes life is funny.
    .-= Cemil´s last blog ..Increase Online Business with Twitter =-.

  3. Hi Sean, History states that one great leader, Gandhi had the Mindset Mastery leadership point number 2 very well under control. He cleaned toilets for his followers and ordered his wife to do the same. He also stood on the front line, on the battlefield with his followers and would take a blow that was sometimes meant for one of his followers. This is one example of true leadership, I would say.

    • Jazz Salinger says:

      Hi Jill,

      Thanks for sharing this as I’ve never heard it before. Wow! Gandhi is certainly an excellent example of what a leader could be. I think because he and his wife treated his followers that way, they would have been so loyal to him and you definitely can’t buy loyalty.

    • Hi truly was a leader. He never demanded anything that he was not willing to do himself. And I don’t think he was afraid of a follower taking over his leadership either.
      .-= Renee´s last blog ..Motivational Music =-.

  4. I like number 4. It’s so easy to see when this quality is not present in a true leader, when the leader is happy to develop their followers – with generosity, willingness to share their knowledge/experience and sincere happiness when their followers succeed.
    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..How to make comments online and build your online persona =-.

  5. Its great to know what traits to keep on eye as a leader so that as a leader you are successful. The ability to put yourself into others shoes also makes for a great leader. I like to teach my boys “Speak to others they way you would like to be spoken to” and another one “how would you FEEL inside if that happened to you”. Leaders need to know that they are leading from the front, but that their teams from behind should always be treated with the utter most respect. That makes the best leader – remembering the feelings of all those helping them to be a leader.
    I keep on reading here on your post and am learning more and more each time!!
    thanks heaps.
    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..Searching For Gratitude Rocks =-.

  6. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    There are lots of reasons that leaders fail I think leadership is a skill that you have to work at if you want to be a good leader. I think being a good leader requires excellent communication skills and an ability to handle many varied personalities. It’s definitely not an easy task.

    • I fully agree. And communication is a key point. Because you can have the greatest intention and everything, if you can’t explain what you want or need in the right way to your followers you will go nowhere …
      .-= Renee´s last blog ..Motivational Music =-.

  7. Wow, this list takes me back to a rough time in my life and makes me appreciate today and the people I work with now even more. Thank you for that, Sean 🙂
    .-= Sarah Butland´s last blog ..I Am Attracting You and Your Vote Via Law Of Attraction =-.

  8. Hi Sean

    ‘Fear of competition from followers’ can drive a person to do ruthless things.

    So huge may the fear be that the person concentrates more on the success of others than his own so his striving comes from the fear of loss rather than focusing on the joy of being a winner.

    Imagine how energy draining that would be if you are constantly looking over your shoulder while you are running the race rather than looking forward to your goals.

    • Hi Elly,

      Unfortunately I think this kind of thing happens a lot. This is why a lot of leaders fail to share their knowledge with those under them. That way they ensure that they’re always needed and no-one can do a better job than them.

      I think it’s leading from a place of fear though. I think it’s the culture in a lot of companies today. Hopefully as more people learn to be good leaders, this kind of thing will become a thing of the past. Then again, it may just be human nature.
      .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Finding Your Passion =-.

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