Leadership challenges: Derailing your derailers

Developing leadership successfully can only be achieved by identifying an individual’s derailers – personal qualities which may send that person off course.

Leadership challenges: Derailing your derailers
The most successful leaders are those who have greater self-awareness, especially those who have successfully identified their derailers, Peter Berry, managing director of Peter Berry Consultancy, told HRD.
 
Derailers are personality characteristics which may create crippling career obstacles when an individual on the path to leadership becomes stressed or pressured.
 
“The most common leadership derailers are lack of resilience – moodiness/temper – and poor people skills,” Berry said. This type of behaviour, left unchecked, can easily prevent a leader from forming and maintaining a functional team.
 
It is therefore up to HR to help potential leaders identify these qualities as quickly as possible. Early intervention can ensure individuals gain the ability to diminish the chance of any destructive behaviour before it becomes a problem.
 
“The best way of testing self-awareness is through a 360 assessment,” Berry said. “When combined with personality assessments, the leader gains insight not only into how their behaviour is perceived by others but why they may be behaving in that manner.”
 
The biggest challenge in coaching potential leaders is uncovering their motivation to improve, Berry adds.
 
“If the motivation is non-existent or unclear, improvement is unlikely.”
 
The identification of derailers can provide immense benefits to organisations. As well as creating programs to guide potential leaders, firms can provide these individuals with the support they need and match their abilities to the future needs of the company.
 
This initial step can also advantage the potential leader by providing them with the self-awareness they require to develop their skills and improve their performance throughout their careers.
 
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