Why Leaders Lose Their Way By Bill George

Understanding of the Self in the Article Why Leaders Lose Their Way By Bill George

According to Bill George, many leaders do not reason properly before they get into leadership positions. Leadership comes from one’s inner self and cannot be faked, nor can one pretend to be a leader. Many people enter the leadership field for money, prestige and power. Once a person is in a leadership position, they forget the virtues and values of those they stand for and start being selfish. According to George, before one takes any leadership role, they should ask the questions, “What do I want to lead? What is the purpose of my leadership?” This enables one to prepare the ‘self’ for a leadership role.

In Why Leaders Lose Their Way, George presents various aspects that make a person loose touch with their leadership role. A person once in leadership may crave for more success and tends to forget their purpose in their position. Many leaders tend to want to heal from childhood wounds of being unsuccessful and want to reward themselves by demanding more leadership power than its necessary (Stogdill, 1948). The craving for more leadership is unnecessary and it always leads to an eventual failure. George also points out the fear of failure as a failing point among leaders. Many leaders believe that in everything they do, they must be successful to please and satisfy others. Failure is a part of leadership, as it always enables one to realize a way of handling challenges in different dimensions.

According to George, a loss of self-reality causes failure in leadership. Many people who become leaders do not want to face the reality e.g. where they come from or their family life. The lack of touch with one self drives one out of the reality. Facing reality makes one a successful leader and also teaches one the way to go and without this one follows the falling trend of leadership. In Why Leaders Lose Their Way, George states that greed is the most significant influence as to why leaders lose their way in their leadership careers. Once some individual appoints you as their leader, they have high expectations that the individual will be selfless and will do anything for the common good. Though in reality, this is usually not the case: leaders are usually oriented towards their self-benefit.

According to Chemers, a professor of social psychology, leadership is a calling and it starts from one’s heart. A leader is an example to others and vises should not be part of a leader’s heart. Stated by George, many individuals will make wrong decisions when it comes to critical issues that involves leadership, but will make decisions that favor those close to them or to only themselves.
Leadership is a gift and when vises come in between it, a leader falls apart or the subjects of whom they are leading denies their chance at leadership. The virtue of being selfless must come in order to achieve their objectives of taking their subordinates to greater heights. True leadership endeavors to do more for people at large.

References
Bill, G. (2011). Why Leaders Lose Their Way. America. Harvard Business School.
Chemers M. (1997) An Integrative Theory of Leadership. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Stogdill, R.M. (1948). Personal Factors Associated with Leadership: A Survey of the Literature. Journal of Psychology
Hoyle, John R. Leadership and Futuring: Making Visions Happen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc., 1995.

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