Understanding the traits, qualities and characteristics of leadership can be challenging enough, but understanding leadership in the corporate world can take on a whole new level of challenge. The smaller a group is, the more easy it is to recognize and identify leadership and its outcomes. The more complex an organization is, however, the harder it can be to not only recognize and identify who the real leaders are, but also the effect they have on the organization as a whole. Here are three challenges to understanding leadership in the corporate world.


  1. Lack of transparency


When a group or organization is small, there is really no place for leaders to hide, so they have no choice but to take responsibility for their decisions. As organizations grow large enough to have leadership teams, however, many important decisions are made behind closed doors or even in places not everyone has access to such as country clubs or private vacation homes. When that happens, it opens the door to all kinds of bad behavior such as buck passing, finger pointing, scapegoating and even bullying. The more complicated the org chart becomes, the more opportunities there are for bad leaders to hide behind others.


  1. Shifting blame and taking undue credit


The larger an organization is, the easier it becomes for bad leaders to pass on the blame for any mistakes that are made and take credit for successes that aren’t actually theirs. There are unfortunately many corporate positions held by people that climbed there on the backs of other people’s ideas and other people’s work, often leaving a string of bodies behind that also paid for their mistakes.


  1. Divided leadership


Almost all organizations are divided into two types of leadership, a group and a single individual. This can be a mayor and a city council, a board of directors and a CEO or a state congress and governor. When they work well together, the organization does well but when they are at odds, the organization suffers. Perhaps the most famous example of this is when Apple’s board of directors fired Steve Jobs from his own company. In the end, the company floundered so much without Jobs that they hired him back again just over a decade later and the company thrived.