How do leaders go off course? Dartmouth College professor Sydney Finkelstein studied "spectacularly unsuccessful executives" to understand what they did wrong. Here's a list of habits, and personality types, to avoid:
1. Overestimating abilities. These individuals believe so strongly in their abilities that they assume market forces and business fundamentals no longer apply.
2. Blurring personal and business interests. Because they believe they are personally responsible for the company's success, these executives mistakenly begin to think, "If it's good for me, it's good for the company."
3. Attempting to be all-knowing. Unsuccessful executives believe they must always be correct. When that attitude prevails, dissent is shut down.
4. Requiring blind allegiance. Those who fall into this category tend to eliminate anyone who dares to contradict them.
5. Focusing solely on the image. Because they spend so much time in the public eye, it sometimes seems the main thing is advertising themselves.
6. Underestimating obstacles. Instead of reevaluating their original plan when they encounter problems, this type of leader pushes back harder.
--Adapted from Why Smart Executives Fail, Sydney Finkelstein, Portfolio, published by the Penguin Group.
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