Major causes of failure in Leadership - Napoleon Hill

Date January 29, 2010


Efficient leadership calls for ability to organize and to master details. No genuine leader is ever “too busy” to do anything which may be required of him in his capacity as leader. When a man, whether he is a leader or follower, admits that he is “too busy” to change his plans, or to give attention to any emergency, he admits his inefficiency. The successful leader must be master of all detail connected with his position. That means, of course, that he must acquire the habit of relegating details to capable lieutenants

Expectation of pay for what they “know” instead of what they do

The world does not pay men for that which they “know”. It pays them for what they do, or induce others to do

Fear of competition from followers

The leader who fears that one of his followers may take his position is practically sure to realize that fear sooner or later. The able leader trains understudies to whom he may delegate, at will, any of the details of his position. Only in this way may a leader multiply himself and prepare himself to be at many places, and give attention to many things at one time. It is an eternal truth that men 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 his knowledge of his job and the magnetism of his personality, greatly increase the efficiency of others, and induce them to render more service and better service than they could render without his aid

Lack of imagination

Without imagination, the leader is incapable of meeting emergencies, and of creating plans by which to guide his followers efficiently


The leader who claims all the honor for the work of his followers is sure to be met by resentment. The really great leader claims none of the honors. He is contended to see the honors, when there are any, go to his followers, because he know that most men will work harder for commendation and recognition than they will for money alone


Followers do not respect an intemperance leader. Moreover, intemperance in any its various form, destroys the endurance and the vitality of all who indulge in it


Perhaps this should have come ahead of the list. The leader who is not loyal to his trust, and to his associates, those above him, and those below him, cannot long maintain his leadership. Disloyalty marks one as being less than the dust of the earth, and brings down on one’s head the contempt he deserves. Lack of loyalty is one the major causes of failure in every walk of life

Emphasis of the “authority” of leadership

The efficient leader leads by encouraging and not by trying to instill fear in the hearts of his followers. The leader who tries to impress his followers with his “authority” comes within the category of leadership through force. If a leader is a real leader, he will have no need to advertise that fact except by his conduct – his sympathy, understanding, fairness, and a demonstration that he knows his job

Emphasis of title.

The competent leader requires no “title” to give him the respect of his followers. The man who makes too much over his title generally has little else to emphasize. The doors to the office of the real leader are open to all who wish to enter, and his working quarters are free from formality or ostentation.

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