The line between a successful leader and a derailed leader can sometimes be very thin. Common work occurrences can cause a good leader to get off track. But a failure of leadership skills can fortunately be predicted and be prevented. There are a red-flag behaviors that can send any leader’s career into a tailspin, but knowing what they are can help.
Researchers have identified personal traits and skills that differentiate between successful leadership skills and derailed leaders. These traits include:
- Diversity of Experience. Having a limited range of experiences derails leaders and can create behavior challenges. A lack of experience creates issues with problem solving, working with others, learning effectively, and addressing the emotional climate of different groups.
- Emotional Stability and Composure. Being emotionally volatile derails leaders and can lead to challenges with working with others, teaming up, and having supportive coaching behaviors. Leaders need to have awareness and effective management of the emotional climate.
- Handling mistakes. Mistakes happen, and successful leaders need to handle them. Managing mistakes by blaming others, demonstrating defensiveness, and refusing to move beyond failure is a major issue. Poor mistake management creates problems with working with others, learning applications, awareness of emotional issues with the team, attending to ethical challenges, and problem-solving.
- Interpersonal skills. Being insensitive to others is a big source of derailment. Manipulative and insensitive behaviors interfere with building networks, fostering cooperation, and getting the most from team members. When communicating in ways that others experience as abrasive and intimidating, the leader is unable to develop them. These behaviors affect information sharing, working relationships, coaching opportunities, feelings awareness, and emotional climate reading.
- Integrity. Integrity breaches like betraying trust, promise breaking, and being duplicitous result in behavior challenges in the ability to build and mend relationships, the ability to understand the emotional needs of others, and the ability to make choices that foster commitment from others to achieve goals.
- Technical and cognitive skills. While leaders often have excellent technical and intellectual abilities, if overused, these behaviors may come across as overconfident and arrogant. Overplaying behaviors can generate difficulties with problem solving, relationships, learning new skills, and career opportunities.
For more information on how to prevent leadership derailment, and develop better leadership skills, check out Leadership Unlimited Profile by HRDQ. It serves as an “early warning” leadership development tool by quickly identifying trouble spots and building the skill sets leaders and managers need to stay on track and take charge of their careers. Participants will learn how to measure key career behaviors, understand the management skills needed to maintain and ensure success, learn how to predict problems and avoid career derailment, develop and align critical competencies, and create an individual personal development plan.