Five Barriers to Exceptional Leadership


Do you have people in your organization who show promise as future leaders? Have you also seen good people sabotage their own growth potential? Mentor them and encourage them – maybe even share these insights from a Harvard Business Review article a few years back to help give them the confidence to pursue this rewarding journey toward leadership roles and responsibilities. 

If you want to be a leader, avoid these five barriers: 

Barrier 1: Overemphasizing Personal Goals. Instead of focusing on your own welfare, figure out how to support the members of your team. Basically, get over yourself. Begin to make another person or an entire team better. Personal needs and fear inhibit your ability to grow. 

Barrier 2:  Protecting Your Public Image. Rather than worrying about how others see you (e.g., intelligent, likeable, and powerful), empower others. When you strive to be seen as uber-intelligent and having all the answers, you close yourself off to learning. Your need to be likeable inhibits your ability to ask tough questions. Let go of your script of who you want to be seen as, and be who you are. Be a leader instead of impersonating one.

Barrier 3:  Turning Competitors into Enemies. Take a hard look at how you interact with colleagues whose agendas may seem opposed to yours. Recognize that these are real people who, if you allowed yourself to get to know them better, could become your best allies.

Barrier 4:  Going it Alone. The road to leadership can be unsafe and intimidating, so surround yourself with trusted people to offer perspective and give you good advice. Your team members can be family, friends, mentors, colleagues, and coaches. The litmus test: Does the leader in you show up when you’re around them?

Barrier 5: Waiting for Permission. Don’t wait for formal authority to make changes. Start now. Healthy organizations are crying out for people to step up and lead. Use whatever informal power you have. You must simply be willing to begin.

Need help with this topic or leadership coaching? Contact Mission Critical Teams.