Why Leaders Fail


Leadership is a matter of character before skill. In other words, it’s about who you are.

Fakers are exposed, eventually.

Fake leaders – those with skills but lacking character – inevitably sink. Skills might get you there but character keeps you there.

Mark Miller, author of, The Heart of Leadership, says, “If you don’t demonstrate leadership character, your skills and your results will be discounted, if not dismissed.”

“Without character no one cares about your skills.”


Mark says leaders with character hunger for wisdom.

You might think the hunger for wisdom is about knowledge and information. But Mark suggests the hunger for wisdom is a matter of character.

Mark didn’t put it this bluntly, but I will.

Leaders who don’t seek wisdom lack character.

Leaders who lack character don’t seek wisdom because they don’t need wisdom. They already know.


The Heart of Leadership includes a self-assessment. Here’s the “hunger for wisdom section:

  1. I see my personal development as one of my highest priorities.
  2. My calendar reflects the high priority I place on the pursuit of wisdom.
  3. I invest time on a regular basis with people who help me grow.
  4. Self-evaluation and reflection play an active role in my pursuit of wisdom.

The core quality of leaders with wisdom is they seek wisdom.


Perhaps you bear the burden of knowledge – you know too much and learn too little. Most of us do. Try saying, “I could be wrong,” the next time you’re spewing wisdom on innocent bystanders. Feels weird doesn’t it?


  1. What am I missing?
  2. Am I seeking outside opinions?
  3. Am I open to have my ideas challenged?

Leader fail for lack of character. Developing character is a matter of repeating behaviors.

What character qualities are essential to successful leadership?

Mark Miller’s:

Blog: Great Leaders Serve

Twitter: @leadersserve