Last week, like a thunderbolt from the sky, the world received with shock the news of the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Khan who until five days ago was the Managing Director of the influential Bretton Woods institution- the International Monetary Funds (IMF) for alleged sexual assault.  Making the news story more captivating was the fact that Khan was until then seen as a strong contender for the French presidency with a very strong chance of defeating the incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy. Although Khan, like any accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the accusation against him has already cost him many precious things not the least is the leadership of the IMF. Should he be found guilty eventually, his conviction is certain to have more far reaching consequences. On the back of this development, I will be writing on the grounds for leadership failure.
Moral failure
A leader’s effectiveness in office is anchored on his capacity to offer moral leadership just as the foremost responsibility of a leader is the provision of moral leadership.  For a leader to be effective in office, he must be able to command the respect of his subordinates and that of the public. The essence of leadership is to mobilize people to actualize a common purpose. To be able to achieve this, a leader requires the cooperation of the people he leads and relevant stakeholders’. To receive the required cooperation however, he must be able to command their respect. When a leader’s credibility is eroded on grounds of moral failure, his capacity to function effectively as a leader is diminished.
It is not enough to be a leader; it is necessary to be a competent leader. It is possible for a leader to be incompetent. That a person is in a leadership position does not necessarily imply that they are competent to lead. Incompetent people could have been entrusted with leadership on account of a defective system. Where people attain leadership solely on the basis of such non-meritocratic considerations as birthright, political patronage, leveraging on networking, anarchy, favouritism or corrupt influence, the chances of throwing up incompetent leaders become high.
The success of any leader is largely dependent on their competence.  If a nation, organization or institution is not experiencing progress, we should check the quality of its leaders. More often than not, the negative state of an entity is traceable to the poor quality of its leaders. No business, organization or society progresses beyond the quality of its leaders. Studies have shown that the number one reason for business failure is the lack of managerial competence of those running it.  Entrusting incompetent people with leadership is a precipice for mediocrity and ultimate failure. It is therefore of utmost importance that people should first be proven to determine their competence before they are entrusted with leadership position. It is equally important that people are trained before entrusting them with leadership. Whether the training is formal or informal is less important; the key thing is to ensure people are trained and tested before they are asked to lead others.  Putting incompetent and inadequately competent people in leadership is a common reason for mediocrity and organizational failure.
Oversight Failure
Effective leaders are aware that because the people they lead will not always do what they expect but what they inspect, they therefore hold them to account. They also realize that owing to dynamic nature of events in life, they need to be abreast of developments in their domain.  Changes are always happening which either can be positive or negative. The conditions that were in place yesterday may not necessarily hold today and what is true today may no longer be the case tomorrow.  This is the whole essence of oversight.  It serves to position a leader to respond promptly to new developments that are internal and external to the organization.  When leaders fail in this all important duty, inevitably, they create grounds for organizational failure.  If there is one aspect a leader can afford be slack, it is not in the area of providing oversight. It amounts to nothing but dereliction of duty for leaders to be unaware of developments in their area of jurisdiction as well as changes in the performance of their personnel.

Written by : Ayo Adebamowo


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