As part of our continuing blog series, “3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers”, we will take a look at each of the 11 behavioral traits identified by Hogan’s research that cause leaders to derail and include examples with suggestions to overcome each derailing behavioral trait. This week, we highlight the derailing behavior: Colorful.
Some degree of Colorful behaviors are required in many senior roles. You’ll want to be able to get your points across and convince others to follow your direction. I do a lot of work in the restaurant and hospitality industry and have found that successful leaders in this industry actually score moderately high on Colorful. When you think about the positives of high scores, leaders who are entertaining, high energy, and engaging do well when meeting guests. It is not an industry that tolerates leaders who are shy and quiet, especially in crisis. However, taken to an extreme, with an over-used strength, Colorful behavior can become derailing to your career. Anyone can go too far and alienate their work group, peers, and manager with this self-serving style.
One senior leader I had been working with and coaching was a good illustration of how Colorful behaviors can alienate followers. He was a very strong leader who made great first impressions and was an excellent company representative with customers and prospects. He was perceived as very entertaining to many, while others would not give him much respect with what they perceived as very attention-seeking behavior. In meetings, he would not listen to others’ inputs and didn’t seem to focus on the important issues. It was all about him; at least that’s what his behaviors indicated.
When he received the 360 degree survey feedback about his style and the negative impact it was having on others, he was quite dismayed and defensive. He had never received feedback like this in his whole working career. Over time, he began to “tone it down” and build a broader followership, but it has been difficult for him to fully accept the fact his style was no longer effective. While still a work in process, he is continuing to make progress with building a much stronger followership in the company.
COACHING TIPS FOR COLORFUL DERAILER
The leader should continue: Entertaining clients and customers with energy and enthusiasm
The leader should stop: Interrupting others while they work and talking past their alotted time
The leader should begin:
- Listening rather than talking
- Asking others if you have understood them correctly
- Finding opportunities to develop your direct reports
Leaders can be assessed using the Hogan suite of assessments which are very helpful to leaders by increasing their self awareness and gaining a better understanding of why they are not getting the results required in their role.