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Leadership Qualities:

Write a response to the following prompt:

  • Describe at least three ways in which a leader can fail and how those failures can be avoided.
  • What are key leadership styles/traits/characteristics needed to avoid failure as a leader?


Being an exploitive-authoritarian leader is one of the best ways to fail as a leader.  If a supervisor does not have confidence in their subordinates and makes all the decisions from their point of view is a fast way to fail as a leader.  For example, when I worked at a prison there was a policy set in place where the officers working had their keys taken away from them because using the keys all the time instead of waiting for the controls center to open the door was wearing down on the locks.  The locks were pretty costly to maintain so the administration took all the keys away without asking the officers how that would impact them.  This back fired on them one day.  There was a fight that broke out in a module and all the officers responded to the fight.  About a minute after the fight broke out a medical emergency call was placed on the other side of the building.  Officers did not have keys to get out of the module and it took them an extra few minutes to get to the medical emergency.  That inmate sued the department and won because of the slow response time.  If the administration would have talked to the officers that work that cell house everyday about the effects of taking the keys away this issue could have been avoided all together.

Leaders can also fail by giving the subordinate too much responsibility.  The leader needs to know the ability of the subordinate and adapt to their abilities.  The way this could be avoided is by proper evaluations to know the subordinates abilities.

Lack of training is another way that a leader can fail.  Training is costly and for smaller departments budget issues are a huge deal.  Leaders need to understand the importance of having properly trained officers and commit to spending the money for training.

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