A Deeper Look at Leadership Derailers in the Talent Review Process

By Posted in - Succession/Talent Reviews on June 17th, 2011 0 Comments

I have written about key talent measurements that are missing in the talent review process in the past.  In my white paper, “Unlocking the DNA of Potential,” I discussed the types of measurements that are needed to quantify an estimate of advancement potential.  In my white paper on succession, “Succession Management – What’s Missing?,” I discussed the types of measurements that are needed to evaluate readiness and fit.

In this blog, I would like to introduce a different type of consideration that also has value in a talent review process for high potential individuals; the concept of leadership or career derailers.  A derailer is a weakness that if not addressed or improved will likely prevent a high potential individual from achieving their true potential.  A number of authors have written about the concept of career derailers.  One of the more well-known is the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).  This organization conducted research and examined the factors that led to leaders failing and published a list of derailers.  Other research as well as practitioner observations have added to this list.

I have attempted to put together a non-exhaustive list of some of the more common leadership derailers and have organized them into three categories:

Derailing Behaviors

1.  Shares confidential information

2.  Takes credit for others’ actions

3.  Fails to keep promises/commitments

4.  Fails to listen or be open to others

5.  Plays favorites

6.  Intimidates or bullies

7.  Loses composure under stress

8.  Micro-manages

9.  Fails to staff effectively

Derailing Characteristics

1.  Overly critical or argumentative

2.  Overly needy of approval

3.  Arrogant or self-promoting

4.  Overly reckless or impulsive

5.  Risk averse

6.  Low tolerance for ambiguity

Derailing Deficiencies

1.  Lacks accountability/follow through

2.  Lacks initiative

3.  Lacks focus or priorities

4.  Lacks self-awareness

5.  Lacks awareness of others

In a high potential talent review, it takes very little time or effort to discuss whether the individual displays any derailer tendencies.   If there is evidence that one or more may exist, it makes good sense to integrate the issue into the individual’s coaching and development plan.  Addressing a tendency early in one’s career can prevent that career from stalling or going into a tail spin later.

The practice of identifying and devloping High Potential talent is crucial to any organizations’ success.  If you are interested in learning how OMNIview can assist  you  in this key objective, please call us at 877.426.6222.

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

About Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Patrick Hauenstein is the President and Chief Science Officer for OMNIview. During his free time Pat likes to cook. He is particularly fond of traditional southern cuisine. Pat is also an animal lover ...
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