Derailed: Managing the Behavioral Pitfalls of Leadership

It’s fairly easy to recognize a leader based on their position within an organization. These are the people who have risen to a certain level, or are placed in a position to lead a team or initiative. The professional goal for people working in these mid- or senior level positions (or even those in emerging leader roles) is to move to the next challenge or level of leadership, however they may define it.

All leaders within a company have functional skills and competencies that allow them to operate at a high level. They are all successful in a practical sense. Everyone is smart. Everyone has technical skills. At a certain point, professional growth must move beyond functional skills to the behavior differences between leaders.

Leaders have established behaviors and strengths that set them apart from their counterparts. The best leaders actively recognize their areas of strength and develop them into truly great habits. These form the core of their professional selves, the traits on which they can rely.

However, there can be a backside to strength of habit. Sometimes, strengths can be overly applied or falsely relied upon. When does being decisive warp in to being stubborn or blind to possibility? At what point does self-confidence grow in to arrogance? When does being deliberate and cautious distort into being hesitant or fearful? Strengths or habits applied poorly – most often under pressure – can be cumbersome or damaging to a company.

This is leadership derailed.

Leading executive educator Marshall Goldsmith describes his coaching clients as “mega-successful people.” In his bestselling book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, he explores 20 self-limiting behaviors – derailers– that can stall the progress of highly successful leaders, including:

  1. Winning too much.
  2. Adding too much value.
  3. Passing judgment
  4. Making destructive comments
  5. Starting with “no,” “but,” or “however.”
  6. Telling the world how smart you are.
  7. Speaking when angry.
  8. Negativity or “Let me explain why that won’t work.”
  9. Withholding information.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition.
  11. Claiming credit you don’t deserve.
  12. Making excuses.
  13. Clinging to the past.
  14. Playing favorites.
  15. Refusing to express regret.
  16. Not listening.
  17. Punishing the messenger
  18. Passing the buck.
  19. An excessive need to be “me”.
  20. Failing to express gratitude

Every leader can find one or more theses 20 derailers within their behavior if they are willing to thoughtfully examine themselves. The question then becomes: “What do I do about it?”

AchieveForum is proud to have partnered with Marshall Goldsmith to create a program that helps leaders change. Marshall is one of the most recognized executive educators in the world. For more than 30 years, he has worked with executives and leaders at organizations such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, The World Bank, Target, Best Buy, The Mayo Clinic and Ford.

Marshall’s research has identified a key set of behaviors that lead to success, as well as a defined set of behaviors that derail success. AchieveForum has utilized our 45 years of proven experience designing and delivering training programs to build a course that applies insights from Marshall’s two bestselling books, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Triggers.

The program applies to leaders at all levels, and is designed to help:

  • Break habits that are holding them back from success
  • Enhance trust within their teams
  • Build employee engagement through building better relationships
  • Implement proven tools to sustain meaningful and lasting change
  • Achieve new heights in performance

To learn more information about this program can help your organization, click here. (link to fact sheet)

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