[May 19, 2018] We’ve all witnessed those in leadership positions who were there for all the wrong reasons. It matters not what profession one is in, there will always be someone who is there that should be there.
I saw it in my first U.S. Army Company Commander who had already been promoted twice and had one of the few positions that called for considerable responsibility and intellect to succeed. Thus, being smart and dedicated are traits that cannot overcome the problem of being there for the wrong reasons.
The most common wrong reasons to be a leader are money, power, and prestige.1 Other reasons do exist. I knew a man who joined the railroad to become a conductor because all his family worked on the railroad and it was expected of him to do the same. He was not a good conductor. Tradition also plays a part.
Historically, those who become leaders for the wrong reasons have serious problems somewhere in their careers. Along the line of their profession, something trips them up and their true character’s show. If one becomes a leader for the wrong reasons, that person will often lack the personal will, courage, and staying power it takes to succeed.
They are often indecisive, unable to connect with people, lack the necessary social skills, and are not sufficiently resilient. It may be that they fail to be sufficiently transparent as a leader. It could be that they are not honest with or loyal to those that work for them. Or, it could be this leader cares more about themselves and their career than for anything else. As such they are not ready to be a leader.
One can, however, overcome this problem by better preparing themselves for leadership. Leaders who are socially and professionally balanced can adapt to most any situation. It is true that not everyone should be a leader and not everyone wants to be one. But to be a good leader, one must want to be one for the right reasons.