The Five Ways Leaders Lose Their Edge

The Five Ways Leaders Lose Their Edge By Joelle K. Jay, Ph.D. 

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In the course of their career, many leaders lose their edge. It’s a problem for the leader personally, and it’s also a problem for the company. A leader’s ability to sustain a high level of effectiveness is one of the biggest contributors to the company’s overall success.

            What are the signs that a leader might be losing the edge? Here are five indicators.

1. They ignore the vision.

Having a vision means you’re clear about what you want. You can connect to an inner source of inspiration that will call you forth and compel you to achieve your goals. Who do you want to be as a leader? What do you want to achieve?

2. They lose their focus.

Once you know your vision and what you want to achieve as a leader, stay focused on it. Finding focus is about choosing where to put your time, energy and attention. If you really want what you say you want, what areas do you have to focus on to get it?

3. They take inefficient action.

After you decide where to focus, make sure your daily action plans reflect that priority. Stop asking, “How can I do everything I need to do in a day?” and start asking, “What are the most effective actions I can take to move toward my vision?” Take those actions now.

4. They do things the hard way.

In business and in life, you always have a choice. You can continue to do things the hard way, the usual way, the way you’ve always done them. Or, you can do things your way – the way you were made to do them. Find and leverage your strengths. Where are you especially talented? What are you recognized for? What do you love to do?

5. They become disconnected from their work.

Finding fulfillment and alignment with your work means understanding what you’re striving for. The meaning.  The purpose. When you lack fulfillment, you lose your edge. Your energy goes down while your stress goes up. To reconnect, consider what you want from your work. Do you want to be happy? Are you trying to reach your full potential? Do you hope to make a difference? Do you want to feel at peace? These are some of the experiences leaders seek when they seek “success.” The key to finding fulfillment at work is to identify what success means to you – not the results but the spirit of a life well lived.

Reclaim Your Leadership Edge

Avoiding common mistakes like these helps leaders lay the foundation for exceptional leadership results. You will put yourself on the path to becoming the kind of leader who changes the world … the kind of leader others will follow … the kind of leader you were meant to be.

© Joelle K. Jay, Ph.D.

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 Joelle K. Jay, Ph.D., is an executive coach specializing in leadership development. She strategizes with business leaders to enhance their performance and maximize business results. She is the author of The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership. For a free Executive Summary of The Inner Edge, or e-mail