Leadership Development Specialist Shares The 10 Barriers In Your Behavior Holding You Back From Leadership Success

Leadership skills are something of a lifelong commitment to developing, much like muscles. You don’t just get to a certain point and stop, or else you’ll eventually erode away all the benefits you worked so hard building. That’s why when you look at the most successful and effective leaders, you’ll notice they’re always moving forward and striving for further greatness. A great leader is able to harness the potential of his team, drawing forth the strength, intelligence, creativity and innovation needed to achieve their uniting goals and excel.

Unfortunately, not all leaders are equal. Some people end up being leaders in title only, taking on a role they were not properly trained for. Others might have been good leaders once, but have since lost sight of their purpose or become complacent. That’s why it’s important for true leaders to understand that leadership is a process rather than an end goal, involving constant effort in developing discipline, communication, inspiration and empathy in order to consistently lead your teams to their goals.

Leadership Development Specialist Philip Chan has been helping driven entrepreneurs (specifically sales professionals, managers and business owners) to unleash their potential and confidently step into their roles as powerful leaders.

Philip has seen what holds his clients back, along with what each client needs to become the successful leaders they’ve dreamed of, shared with us below in The 10 Behavioral Barriers to Leadership Success observed throughout his career thus far.

1 — Ego (Pride)

While every leader needs a bit of an ego in order to rise up and confidently take charge of a situation, unchecked ego can be a factor that will debilitate a team, hamstringing their opportunity for success and marring the leader’s legacy in the process.

Napoleon Bonaparte is a famous example of corrupting ego, as he refused to accept defeat and strategically pull back, conserving his resources for another opportunity. His inability to save victory for another day led to the fall of his militia and his empire. All he needed was to take a step back and reassess this situation.

Humbling oneself, especially in the midst of war, is one of the most difficult turnaround moments in any tussle that make the difference between falling on your face or bouncing back on your feet. Making decisions from the perspective of a proud mind causes one to base decisions on looking good, not ones that will sit well.

2 — Bad Attitude (Pessimism)

The way you process, filter and understand information in the world is guided by your mindset, with your behaviors, actions and outcomes all linked to how you perceive things. Your mindset can even be perceived by others in subtle ways through things like your reactions and gestures, and is not going to invite productivity or inspiration in those around you. If you were to picture this in action, it would be like wearing a pair of spectacles caked with grime and filth. Everything you see will look dirty, and you can’t be expected to make sound decisions if you can’t even see properly.

Changing a bad attitude is like polishing yours. It’s huge if you’re able to correct it because you can change the direction of the entire outcome like the flip of a mental switch. All that has to be done is, locate the on switch.

3 — Rigid Thinking (Stubbornness)

Also known as stubbornness, rigid thinking can create serious roadblocks between us and other people. Behavioral flexibility is one of the most important skills to have when interacting with others. We all have our own beliefs. While having faith in our ideas is important, what is even more significant is being fluid with the way you view things and being able to discard ideas when they don’t suit your long term goals.

Situations change, and so too should your thinking if you want to be flexible enough to adapt to new challenges that will arise. This is why the statement “Stay on your toes” is a key statement. When referencing the great evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, it is not the strongest or most intelligent who has the best chance at succeeding in life, but rather the ones who are capable of adapating accordingly to their environments the best.

4 — Poor Social Skills

As humans, we are social creatures at our core. Part of our strength as a species comes from our ability to organize and communicate effectively, vastly increasing our combined manpower and allowing us to achieve feats that would be impossible alone. That’s why the inability to communicate properly is such a huge barrier that can affect every aspect of the leadership process, creating failed projects and accomplishments as a result.

An important aspect of communication that is often overlooked is listening. The ability to listen, communicate properly or interact with others will effectively boost the efforts of your relationships.

How else can you expect the other people you work with to carry out your vision, if you lack the ability to communicate properly with them?

5 — Taking Things For Granted (Ungratefulness)

Not acknowledging the efforts of your team, or expecting flawlessness without practice, is an easy way to erode productivity and trust in your team. How would it make you feel if someone disregards your feelings or achievements?

Being told your work is not good enough can cause you to second guess yourself. Which can immediately cause you to feel unsure of what to do next and feel unsure of your approach. We all want to feel acknowledged and appreciated. Do your best to do so for others, especially the ones we want to keep around.

6 — Inability to Surrender Control (Micromanaging)

Nothing great or extraordinary was ever done alone. This is why there’s a saying called “it takes a village.”

It’s impossible to be a one man army, and that’s part of the reason why we align with teams to achieve larger goals. Part of being a leader is understanding that you can’t micromanage every single aspect of the business process, and doing so is a guaranteed way to lose the trust of your team.

Trust goes both ways. A good leader trusts that they have formed the proper team, and the team must trust him well enough for them to both execute the vision to a standard of excellence. Much like Championship Winners in sports, the coach and players must be aligned in order to accomplish something extraordinary.

These are processes that must be handled AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE on the front end of the hiring process.

Learning to lead your team and having proper expectations from your team is critical to everyone’s overall success.

7 — Absolute Authority and Spotlight (Overbearing)

Drawing from many of the points mentioned above, elevating yourself to the position of superstar is a self-destructive mindset that causes others to feel unimportant, and will definitely affect your outcome in the long term.

We all want recognition, appreciation and encouragement. Why would a team rally around a leader who rejects their input and doesn’t credit their effort? Do your best to shine the light on those around you that need it most. Give them a slight boost of confidence and see how far that goes!

8 — Delegation Without Initiative

Being ordered around by someone who is not involved in the process gives a feeling of subordination, contributing significantly to the breakdown of communication and trust between leaders and their teams.

People want to be inspired and motivated by someone who they see as an expert, and they need to see this expertise in action in order to perform to their leader’s standards. There’s no better way to learn than by doing, and people want to see others do it first. Show them how to do it. Do it with them. Once you are able to document the processes that lead to success, step aside and empower them do it on their own.

9 — Unclear and Unfocused Messaging (Distortion)

Your team needs clear direction to understand their goal and how to arrive there. Unfocused communication can be too little or too much information, where both cases can affect your team’s ability to process directives and perform adequately.

Picture yourself complimenting a pastry chef on their delicious looking cake. You ask “How can I bake something like that?” They tell what ingredients you need, but don’t give you the measurements. They give you the instructions but jump around the order as they forget and remember steps.

How confused would you be? I probably would just give up and buy a cake.

10 — Uncoachable

Allow yourself to be consulted and coached by others within the space you’re seeking. Search for someone with experience, even if it is only two steps ahead of where you are currently. Someone who has already crossed the milestone you’re currently stuck on, can be a powerful guide for you. Especially if it was achieved recently and still fresh in their mind.

The clearer it is in their mind, the clearer it will be in yours. If you were asking for a recommendation to a restaurant, would you ask someone who was there 3 years ago, or someone who went 3 weeks ago?

Plenty could have changed within all that time, including the cooks, servers, management, prices, etc.

Don’t be so arrogant in thinking you don’t need help to where it slows you down, ultimately costing you the success you are capable of. Compressed growth through a precise choice of mentorship will not only accelerate your path faster, but with less obstacles, heartaches, and deposits from the bank.

If you want to learn more about how you can become the powerful leader you’re meant to be, connect with Philip Chan through Leadership Visions International.

You can also find him on LinkedIn, or reference his podcast specifically dedicated to all things Leadership related, on both Apple and Spotify.



Copywriter, publicist & entrepreneur. Passionate about sharing empowering and informative stories from thought leaders across the globe.

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Michelle Whiting

Copywriter, publicist & entrepreneur. Passionate about sharing empowering and informative stories from thought leaders across the globe.