Leadership derailers are part of every great leadership journey. Supported by real-time coaching and performance feedback that acknowledges inside intentions and addresses observable behaviour, leaders can develop skills effectively on the job.
It’s not just about strengths
Engagement specialists like Gallup, and positive psychologists like Martin Seligman have built a compelling case for focusing on strengths. Their research tells us that focusing on strengths improves engagement, satisfaction and performance in the workplace; it fuels people’s internal fires and significantly impacts organisational results. Yet in harsh reality, derailers get in the way. It’s like driving a high-performance vehicle with one foot on the accelerator and one on the brake—until the brake is released, the car will never reach top speed.
The 12 globally recognised leadership derailers include:
1. Staller – analysis paralysis
Taking too long to take action: perceived as blockers to progress; missing deadlines or opportunities.
2. Controller – command and control
Highly directive: stifling initiative and innovation.
3. Cyclone – bull at a gate
In a hurry to achieve results: leaving a wake of destruction and disengagement.
4. Doer – can’t delegate
Hoarding work and responsibility to the detriment of themselves and their team.
5. Avoider – conflict averse
Reluctant to face tough conversations and situations: creating challenging team dynamics.
6. Fence-sitter – indecisive leader
Unclear leadership and direction: creating bottlenecks in progress and frustration for others.
7. Know-it-all – closed to other ideas
Reluctant to consider new ideas or input from others.
8. Guardian – inability to innovate
Prefers the status quo: reluctant to change, low focus on innovation.
9. Micromanager – management on a leash
Excessive supervision: perceived as stifling and untrusting.
10. Poker face – showing no emotion
Non-expressive communication style: direct verbal communicator; frustrated by inference and reading between the lines.
11. People burner – poor people skills
Prioritisation of task accomplishment over people and relationships.
12. Tactician – poor strategic thinker
Reactive to daily pressures; buried in the day-to-day; unable to hold the broader strategic view.
It’s tempting to ignore behaviours that threaten to derail leadership, particularly in favour of a strengths focus. Developing leadership, however, requires more than focusing on strengths; it requires leaders to overcome derailers, round out their leadership edges and take their foot off the brake.
This is an extract from “Why overcoming the 12 leadership derailers require a focus on intention not behaviour”. First published in Modern Business Magazine, February 2016.
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Written for leaders who lead leaders, this book is a practical guide for addressing the 12 most common globally recognised leadership derailers. It’s a resource for developing leadership,on the job.