When The Leader Fails – Does Everybody Fail With Him?

Vantage Points Header Joel ElvesonWHEN THE LEADER FAILS, does everybody he was leading fail with him? When the leader fails, who picks up the pieces? When the leader fails, what is the root cause of his failure? When the leader fails, what will it take for a new leader to take over and restore confidence?

Did anybody see this coming? Where there any signs at all? Was there a moment of indifference or indecisiveness or worse yet a moment of glaring incompetence? At his peak what was this leader capable of? What did he accomplish? When the leader failed did anybody notice or have empathy for him?

The leader failed! This much is clear! While picking up the pieces in an attempt to put the puzzle back together again can we come up with a more solid leader? So there is so much to do and learn from this experience that is hard to know where and how to start again.

Where do we expect the new leader to come from? What are the traits we want this new leader to have that clearly were missing from his predecessor? How difficult will it be to find a leader who has these traits while restoring trust?

Does anybody recollect where the old leader came from and who was it that appointed him to be the leader? What was it about him that made people swoon over him and literally hang onto his coattails hoping his aura would rub off on them? If his persona was so powerful how then is it possible that he failed?

Did the failed leader fail not only those he led but did he fail to keep all that he accomplished (if anything of note)alive with the hope there is still more that can be done? Did the failed leader shake everybody’s confidence to the core? Broken and shattered confidences are not easily repaired.

How much work will it take and how difficult will it be for the new leader not only to restore confidence but the dreams that were left behind as well? Confidence as mentioned above is tough enough to rebuild so how does the new leader take these broken dreams, and broken promises and make them whole again?

Do we even have the right to hope or even believe such a leader exists in a leaderless vacuum? What will it take to convince this new potential leader he is right for us and we for him? What direction do we want the new leader to take us in and just what is his vision to get us to where we need to go?

I doubt this statement to have any even a molecule of veracity to it. Even when the best of the best of leaders fail or experience a stalling of their leadership capability there is always a few resilient residents who can keep going on with the process of continuing to move forward.

When the leader failed did everybody fail with him? Undoubtedly many dominoes fell over each other knocking each other to a state of flat existence. The dependent personality so desperately needs to be led in order to survive that without a leader to take his hand and guide him he simply cannot function on any level.

What lives in inside the soul of those who survived the failure that allowed them to go virtually unaffected? Similarly what shortfalls in life left the fallen dominoes in the hapless state that they find themselves in?

The leader in many instances is the beating heart that pumps blood into every artery (his followers) of an organization or group. When the beating heart stop pumping blood we know some survived while others did not but we don’t know what it was that took the leader down.

When the leader failed did it turn out to be the day the earth stood still? In all likelihood that was not the cataclysmic event some would have expected. However it would have seemed logical to have a back-up person should such an epic failure occur. In this case that was not the case.

When the leader failed did everybody fail with him? The answer as we have come to see is a resounding NO! Some wilted while others one their personal battle to be self-led. While the leader failed or was in the process of failing where was the system to provide protection in a case such as this? The leader failed, the system failed but everybody did not fail when the leader fell.

This is the end of my mini thesis (my college writing professor would be proud of me) centered around the failure of leadership and the results therein.


Joel Elveson
Joel Elveson
INDEPENDENT Executive Recruiting By Joel is an "up and coming" Executive Search Firm formed and headed up by Joel Elveson whose visionary ideas, leadership & creativity have brought to life a more "user-friendly" approach to recruiting. His clients and candidates form powerful strategic partnerships that we use to help you. Joel’s Firm offers Permanent, Temporary (case by case), & Temporary To Permanent staffing solutions for all of your Human Capital Requirements. Contract IT/Consultants are available if needed. Above and beyond they are experts (by way of their personal industry work experience) with mortgage, mortgage banking, middle-market banking, accounting, along with many others under the vast financial spectrum of disciplines. Their business goes beyond candidate recruiting as they also train, mentor and develop your internal recruiting staff with an eye towards helping you reduce the cost of hiring. They will also work in areas such as compensation, effective onboarding processes and alike. In other words, their business is to help your business by becoming an extension of you by filling in gaps that cause delay or waste. The recruiting methods employed by Joel’s team are time tested that results in a high rate of successful placements. Joel was trained in the art of recruiting by some of the top staffing industry executives in addition to the best recruiter trainers who to this day drive me to exceed the lofty goals he has set forth.

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  1. I totally agree. When a leader fails, someone else with step forward and lead the charge. But I’m wondering if a true leader would really fail. The common failure for leaders I see is when they face a rebellion by their followers where the leader is given no choice but to step down. To be a leader, one must have followers.

    If everyone under your umbrella rebels, were you ever their leader to begin with?

  2. Ken,
    As was the case with your last set of comments I happen to agree with you 100%. Good leaders only know how to shake off failure and move on armed with the lessons they learned from their past mistakes.
    Conversely a lesser leader does not have the ability to rebuild in addition to taking on valuable knowledge as to what went wrong.
    Thank you Ken for your continuing contribution.

  3. I have always been a leader. Even when I am not in a leadership position. At my last job, we had a manager who did not know how to lead properly. She neglected her position, customers as well a the staff. No one liked her except me. She was not cry nice to me, however, I win her over by leading the staff. And I was just her CSR.
    I was able to balance the safe properly every night, which brought down mistakes made by other managers. I offered exquisite Customer Service and this brought down shrink. As a result, when corporate came, I made my managers look good. For my efforts, I received a certificate fort Lead in Sales in Oct of 2016.

  4. All leaders fail from time to time, even the best ones. The good leaders shake off the failure and move on having learned one or more lessons from the failure.

    However, when a leader repeatedly fails it is time for a change. When change is needed and not effected on a timely basis, that is when real damage occurs.

    • Ken,
      Thank you as usual for taking the time to read my article in addition to providing your comments.
      The points you raise in your comments are ones that I happen to agree with wholeheartedly.
      Failure is not easy to recover from but as you point out the good leaders are able to move on from their failures and move on. The added advantage being these leaders learn from their mistakes and move forward having learned from what went wrong.
      If you cannot move yourself forward in the recovery process you were never really a leader and yes a change has to made.
      Thank you once again for readership and subsequent comments.