Why overcoming the 12 leadership derailers matters

Why overcoming the 12 leadership derailers matters

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.


Want more?

Check out my new book Developing Direct Reports: Taking the guesswork out of leading leaders out now.

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.