Top 10 Barriers to Leadership

By Dr. Mary Kay

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Each of you, as a leader, has a passion for achieving your leadership goals and aspirations.

As a member of the About Leaders community, you see the importance of taking the time to learn about other leaders and how to refine your leadership skills.

With this in mind, I want to share some of the extremely valuable and fascinating information that people have told me about their leaders.

The feedback I hear ranges from positive comments to deep frustrations.

Most often, I hear the frustrations – the leadership behaviors that annoy this person about another person, which results in lower productivity and less than desirable performance.

Here are Examples

People come to me and say comments like:

  • “My manager doesn’t listen.”
  • “My employee doesn’t show a sense of urgency.”
  • “My co-worker doesn’t share information.”
  • “My _____ doesn’t _____.”

How would you fill in the blanks?

Try it! This exercise is very valuable because it provides each of us an opportunity to reflect on needed conversations.

Think about specific behaviors that are holding us back and potential barriers to accelerating our leadership skills.

Why Care about Barriers?

A total commitment to leadership success means challenging our thinking, priorities, and blind spots.

Unfortunately, what people don’t communicate to us are our behavioral blind spots – the things we routinely do to others but don’t realize the impact of.

When blind spots are not revealed, and the truth about our behavior is not openly discussed, we continue to operate on cruise control.

We keep doing the same things over and over. As a result of our “unconscious incompetence”, our learning is stifled. We become our largest barrier to leadership success.

Barriers to Leadership

The purpose of the “Barriers to Leadership” series is to provide a discussion that all of us will want to participate in, genuinely reflect on, and ultimately increase our awareness of leadership barriers that affect everyone.

Some of the Top 10 Barriers will be things you have heard before, behaviors you have personally witnessed, and maybe a few surprises. Try to guess at least 2 of the Top 10 leadership barriers that employees have said are the most frustrating leadership behaviors of all.

What Are Barriers to Leadership?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Would you like to contribute a post?

Dr. Mary Kay on FacebookDr. Mary Kay on Twitter
Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and co-founder of the About Leaders community. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained over 30,000 leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Masterclass helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders.
  • David McCuistion says:

    Mary Kay:

    The one I have heard most often centers around “push-back” mentality –
    We have never done it that way;or
    We have always done it this way.

    Another is that current policy won’t let us do it any other way.

    I look forward to the Top 10 List. Thanks.


  • Debra Gold says:

    One vote for ownership and accountability!

  • Carlos Guillermo Vásquez says:

    De acuerdo a mi criterio la principal debilidad para el liderazgo es la inseguridad propia.

  • Dr. Mary Kay Whitaker says:

    Thanks Debra, Carlos, and Debra for your input on 2 of the Top 10 Barriers to Leadership. We have votes for:
    1) Push-back mentality
    2) Blamer (ex. on current policy)
    3) Lack of ownership/accountability
    4) Insecurity

  • Daniel Sztutwojner says:

    My top 5:
    – Lack of communication
    – Being insecure
    – Selfish
    – Not challenging status quo
    – Not listening to feedback

  • Amr Gaber says:

    1-Push-back mentality .
    2-Lack of ownership/accountability.
    3- Lack of communication .

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    Brilliant Leadership Logo

    Improve Yourself & Your Team

    Get The Training Proven By 40,000+ Leaders