The leader is given counsel–hard counsel, but good counsel. It is accountability on a point that would make her a better leader. What happens next is hard to perceive, but if you’ve seen if enough you can spot it… in yourself and others.
The leader hears the counsel, but doesn’t follow it, just “files it away in her mind.” She comes up with reasons why it is inconvenient, untimely, or ultimately unwise. She “knows better” what to do. Then, she begins to subconsciously lessen the relationship with that person who gave her harder points of accountability. When those true counselors try to set up times to meet, it never works out. The leader never initiates relationship, and so it dries up. She loses the person who gave accountability to her leadership.
Over time she does this with others, and sometimes those “former counselors” talk to each other and shake their heads at the lack of reception the leader has shown. They agree: their time was wasted on her. Her promise as a leader is stunted by her ego. What remains of those she is in relationship with are either:
1) the oblivious who don’t have the insight to recognize how she should change,
2) the pragmatists who know how she should change but know she wouldn’t receive it, so they stuff it, or
3) the fearful who know how she should change, but haven’t learned the skills of bringing accountability to others.
In this process the leader loses the very people in her life that would help her grow. She wakes up one day wondering why she is always stuck, why things never move ahead for her. She shrugs her shoulders, thinking it is a mystery never to be unveiled. She remains perpetually stuck in her leadership, and doesn’t know why, for she has no relationship with those who might tell her why.
This is the tragedy of a leader who has let relationships of accountability slip away. The story doesn’t have a happy ending, but for those who might hear it, and change.