Ambition taken to an extreme level = Desperation

Since our discussion started about effective leadership, I have presented ideas to you about what that means.  My last post switched gears to define ineffective leadership.  I gave an example of when the strength of resiliency turns to dead weight.

Ambition is also a character strength, and a characteristic of effective leadership.  However, ambition becomes a weakness when fear and greed take over. 

Take Doctor Smith for example, a dentist in private practice.  His practice has been successful the last few years, and has been providing a comfortable income.  His patients have high dental IQ’s, and he has a trusting relationship with most of them. 

Doctor Smith rewards himself with a new boat.  That same summer he has some unexpected expenses, and then work in the practice slows a little.  In a panic, Doctor Smith becomes focused on money instead of quality patient care.

Not wanting to lose any revenue, desperation squeezes out ambition. Doctor Smith becomes pushy in trying to convince patients to start treatment right away.  He begins to bargain with patients for the price of procedures.  He starts giving enormous discounts for his services, thinking that at least some income was better than nothing. 

The quality of Doctor Smiths work soon decreases.   He starts using less expensive materials and less qualified labs.  He has to spend more and more time redoing work and fixing errors. 

Within just a few months, Doctor Smith’s patient population begins to change.  Soon, the only new patients coming through the door are those interested in paying the least amount possible.  No longer does Doctor Smith attract patients that care about quality dentistry.

In time, Doctor Smith can’t afford to pay his staff, and he loses those team members who had the highest qualifications, and who provided the best in patient care. 

Ambition has turned from strength to weakness for Doctor Smith, and it changes everything!

Ambition (strength) taken to an extreme level = Desperation (weakness)


As the picture above suggests, when leaders lose their focus and take risks with their strengths, they may simply become CAT BAIT!

Effective leadership devolves into ineffective leadership when strength is taken to an extreme…and it becomes a weakness!

Would you care to share some examples you’ve personally seen?

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