3 Top Coaching Tips For Derailers: Colorful

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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.

3 Top Coaching Tips For Derailers: Imaginative

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As part of our 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 Imaginative.

Having a lot of ideas and suggestions typically serves a leader very well on their way up the corporate ladder and it impresses their managers. Often these ideas are creative ways of solving problems, taking advantage of market opportunities, or addressing weaknesses. It’s when you “over-do” ideation and you are in charge of a group or function that you could end up derailing your career, or at the least alienating your followers.

Charlie was a Plant Manager who was trying to keep up with the increasing scope and complexity of his job in a consumer products organization. He was always perceived by his team as the creative leader who could articulate a clear and positive vision for the operation. Charlie enjoyed the thrill that problem-solving provided where he could exercise his creative muscle and show others how brilliant he was in the industry. He always wanted to be, “the smartest guy in the room.” Eventually, when several of his ideas were implemented poorly and the plant’s performance deteriorated below plan, Charlie’s manager began to question his effectiveness in leading a complex and detailed operation where quality was essential to success.

Charlie’s ideas were no longer viewed as helpful, and in fact, they were seen as distracting to the plant’s priorities and performance. What the role needed was a hands-on operator who could drive quality and efficiencies to greater performance levels. Charlie tried to adapt, but the thought of getting involved with the details over time just didn’t appeal to him and eventually he left the organization.

COACHING TIPS FOR IMAGINATIVE DERAILERS

The leader should continue: Providing ideas, insights and original solutions to everyday business problems.

The leader should stop: Offering opinions and solutions without being asked.

The leader should begin:

  • Ensuring that others clearly understand your ideas
  • Checking with trusted colleagues regarding the practicality of your ideas before making them public
  • Focusing on ideas that seem the most interesting to others, not just you
  • Surrounding yourself with people who can execute your ideas

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 roles.

 

Coaching Tips for Derailers

3 Top Coaching Tips For Derailers: Diligent

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As part of our 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 Diligent.

All of us are diligent to different degrees and this served you well as you progressed up the ladder in your organization. It was very handy to be a perfectionist as an individual contributor and produce high quality work products. Setting high standards and working really hard to achieve these ideals is typically valued by organizations. However, the trouble comes when you can’t relax these standards and get work done through others. You can have a high degree of diligence and survive, until you start leading mangers, directors, and other executives. You can become known as a micromanager and these behaviors stunt development of the team and tend to drive off highly talented employees.

Connie was CEO of a major health services organization. She had been promoted to that role from the Chief Scientist role based on her insights and knowledge in the field, industry reputation and influence, and ability to get things done. When she took over, her senior team (former peers) was tolerant of her need to know all of the details and to closely manage their projects and initiatives. After a few months, it became apparent to Connie that she needed some help to improve the team’s morale and effectiveness. When I entered the situation Connie described her day-to-day activities to me and I identified some very specific behaviors that were causing some issues with her senior staff.

For example, the leader of external communications was not able to get acceptable press releases out about the organization in Connie’s opinion. Instead of Connie challenging the leader to improve that facet of her department, she thought it was easier and faster if she edited the press releases. The picture was this: the CEO was reading and editing press releases. Is that a valuable use of her time? No, so she stopped doing these and started to put her requirements and expectations in place to improve the quality of the press releases she had to approve. It was hard for Connie to resist the temptation to return to writing these, but once she did, she was able to spend her time on much more strategic activities.

COACHING TIPS FOR DILIGENT DERAILERS

The leader should continue: Working hard, being careful and maintaining high standards.

The leader should stop: Criticizing subordinates’ work, pointing out their shortcomings, and requiring them to do their work “your way”.

The leader should begin:

  • Delegating tasks to subordinates and letting them make their own mistakes
  • Differentiating tasks that need to be completed to perfection from those that don’t
  • Recognizing that others may not share your high standards of quality

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 roles.

 

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3 Top Coaching Tips For Derailers: Dutiful

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As part of our blog series “3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers“, we 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 finish the blog series by focusing on the derailing behavior Dutiful.

This characteristic is important to a degree for anyone who is part of an organization. We need employees who will step up to act and be willing to challenge authority when appropriate. It’s when this is at dangerously high levels it leads to a common derailer. I often think about the military as a great example of a dutiful culture by design. Taking orders and not making decisions outside of the orders is essential for success in that organization.

In the for-profit sector, especially in the small to mid-sized organization, dutiful behaviors in leaders are often viewed as defining someone who is indecisive and conforming. They may not take a risk and defend their own team members for the decisions they make when called into question.

COACHING TIPS FOR DUTIFUL DERAILERS

The leader should continue: Keeping your boss informed about relevant business developments and opportunities.

The leader should stop: Checking with others before making decisions.

The leader should begin:

  • Stopping your direct reports in their decisions
  • Defending their direct reports when they need it
  • Sharing your beliefs when you are asked to offer an opinion

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 roles.

Download coaching tips for all 11 comomon derailing behaviors in one report. Continue to refer to these tips to assist you or your leaders in achieving career success.

Coaching Tips for Derailers

Examples of Derailing Behavior

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It’s Monday morning at 8 am and you’ve just arrived at work. Before you even have a chance to put your coat down and get a cup of coffee, your boss is in your face yelling at you about an email you didn’t respond to from late Friday afternoon. Is this behavior “normal” for your boss? If your boss does this on a frequent basis, then he/she is exhibiting the common behavior for Bold derailers.

Advance your leadership skills by learning to identify derailing behaviors in yourself and others. Then you can develop strategies for effectively dealing with them. Hogan has identified 11 common derailing behaviors and tips for improving them.

Here’s another situation. At the weekly meeting for your team, one of your colleagues monopolizes the meeting when he doesn’t like any of the ideas provided and can’t make a decision about anything. Your team member is exhibiting the classic derailing behavior of Cautious. In this case, get him to set the priorities of what issues MUST have a decision made and reassure him that any decision made can be altered down the road if it isn’t working.

Another example of a derailing behavior is when your boss or team member constantly talks and interrupts others. They often exhibit a great deal of enthusiasm but lack the ability to focus on one thing. This person is showing common traits associated with the Colorful derailer. Try talking with him/her about listening more to others first before speaking. Another tactic for working with a Colorful derailer is being clear about what is expected behavior for team meetings.

HOW ELSE CAN YOU IMPROVE DERAILING BEHAVIOR? HERE ARE 3 IDEAS:

 

  1. Go to HR and discuss the possibility of bringing in an executive coach or having assessments completed for you and everyone on your team. Ask about the leadership training budget and what is available in-house and outside the company to fully understand your options.
  2. Depending on your relationship with the individual who is exhibiting derailing behaviors, you can write down a few examples of the derailing behavior and discuss it with the person involved. Be sure that it’s a calm and positive conversation in a neutral setting. Make it clear that you’re providing feedback to help them improve their performance and lessen any chances for misunderstanding the person’s behavior and actions.
  3. Review your own behavior and choose one or two derailing behaviors to improve over the next three months. Ask for feedback from your peers and boss on ways to implement positive changes. For example, you could say: “I need your advice on ways I can become less skeptical. What suggestions do you have?” If you lead the way regarding seeking feedback, you’ll create a more open environment where others will feel more comfortable following your example.

There are many examples of derailing behaviors and learning to identifying them so you can better handle the situation will strengthen your leadership skills and create more positive working relationships.

Coaching Tips for Derailers

3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers: Reserved

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As part of our 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 caused leaders to derail and include examples with suggestions to overcome each derailing behavioral trait. This week, we highlight the derailing behavior reserved.

Being reserved may cause the leader to become socially isolated and stay to themselves. When they do interact it is typically very direct and blunt and seemingly don’t care about others’ feelings or concerns. Over the course of time stakeholders will stop consulting them or offering feedback and criticism since the leader is not approachable. Eventually, the leader will lose their credibility and influence and followers will start to question the leader’s engagement and caring leading to defections.

As an example, Mary Wilbright was head of Marketing for a major CPC company. She had risen fast over the ensuing years based on her marketing genius and consumer insights. Over the course of her career, she did not have a large group of product managers she led. In fact, she was a very hands-on and strong individual contributor. Senior leadership admired her marketing prowess which had produced some blockbuster products. As Mary’s department began to grow and she had to lead through layers and levels, her direct report team began to pull away from her and she seemed content to operate on her own making decisions without consulting the team.

Once we started the executive coaching process, she set some goals to reach out and repair damaged relationships with her direct reports and peers. She also agreed to consult with her team on key decisions and made a concerted effort to involve them to a much greater degree in the on-going management of the Marketing function. Over the successive months she made some progress and improved her stakeholder relations. It is still difficult for Mary to open up and share her feelings with others, but she is trying and has maintained her role in the organization.

COACHING TIPS FOR RESERVED DERAILER

The leader should continue: Showing steadiness when others are becoming emotional or overwrought

The leader should stop: Turning others out or away and ignoring their concerns

The leader should begin:

  • Making sure that they interact with their staff each day
  • Paying attention to the impact they have on others, especially when they are direct or blunt
  • Being more transparent and sharing their feelings
  • Finding opportunities to connect with people in small ways

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 roles. Look for future blog posts to discuss coaching tips for other derailing behaviors.

3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers: Mischievous

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As part of our 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 Mischievous.

Some level of Mischievous behavior can become good for your career. It’s when you take it to the extreme that you can cross the line and violate policies and even laws. The landscape is filled with fallen CEO’s who pushed the limits of Mischievous behaviors including the most extreme examples with Ken Lay and Bernie Madoff. Leaders who possess this trait to a moderate degree may push the limits that result in creativity and innovation in their organizations. They use their charm for good reasons to achieve organizational goals.

COACHING TIPS FOR MISCHIEVOUS DERAILER

The leader should continue: Treating clients and colleagues with respect and support

The leader should stop: Ignoring warnings, cautions, and feedback about your unnecessary risk taking

The leader should begin:

  • Partnering with someone who is good with details and follow-up
  • Weighing true consequences of different courses of action
  • Remembering that others may not be as adventurous as you
  • Taking ownership for what you are doing
  • Determining which rules really are important to follow and follow them consistently

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 roles.

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3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers: Leisurely

cps coaching tips for derailers

As part of our 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 Leisurely.

Leaders who are high in Leisurely derailing behaviors seem to have their own agenda. Everything revolves around their agenda and over time, their stakeholders become frustrated with the leader’s willingness to pursue other options that differ from their own. They will lose credibility since their stated positions could conflict with their own agenda and they behave in an opposite direction than their explicit position on issues and opportunities.

A good example of how this derailing behavior can cause a leader to get in trouble is with a leader we worked with recently. His name was Sam Dunn and he was Head of Sales for a division in a global technology company. When we started working in this situation, his boss and peers were very frustrated with Sam since he would commit to doing things in public meetings and they would not be addressed after the meetings.

As I got to know Sam over the several months we worked together, it was clear that when he said he would do something, he meant it at least at the time he said it. When he left the meetings, the volume of work seemed to take over and Sam did what he thought was best, his own priorities, which frequently did not include the commitments he made to his other senior leaders and manager. There was a high level of frustration toward Sam, who was in trouble in his role because of his dogmatic adherence to what he felt was the right direction.

As we worked together, Sam started to keep track of his commitments. In meetings, he was not aware of how often he stated he would take care of issues or tasks and then not follow through. By having him keep track, he had a way to increase his self-awareness and report back to his stakeholders the status of his commitments.

Sam also needed to examine his agenda and priorities and evaluate if these were truly the best for the organization compared to what others were asking him to consider. He began to open up to new ideas and directions, and then he would consider others’ inputs and requests as legitimate and necessary to incorporate into his day-to-day leadership. Over time, his boss’ frustration levels were reduced substantially since Sam was following through on his commitments.

Coaching Tips for the Leisurely Derailer

The leader should continue: Treating others with grace and charm

The leader should stop: Resisting feedback and requests for quicker results and turnaround

The leader should begin:

  • Giving others honest feedback
  • Committing only when you intend to follow through
  • Following through when you commit
  • Becoming more comfortable with disagreement
  • Being more receptive to feedback and influence from others

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 roles.

3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers: Bold

 

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As part of our 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 BOLD.

It’s good to have a fairly high degree of Boldness in your leadership behaviors especially if you are in industries that reward this leadership. I do a lot of work in the restaurant and hospitality industry and have found successful leaders actually score high on Bold. When you think about the positives of high scores, leaders who are assertive, confident, and energetic during restaurant shifts and crises carries you very far toward successful guest satisfaction. Being low-key, easy going, and risk-averse does not help in a fast-paced culture. However, taken to an extreme, an over-used strength can become derailing. Anyone can go too far and alienate their work group, peers, and managers.

One senior leader I worked with scored very high in Bold and was not self-aware of how she was coming across with her team. She did not seek negative feedback about her style and she always put herself out front by taking credit for results. She simply turned others off with her seemingly single-minded pursuit of promotions and she often had to be “the smartest person in the room.”

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Once this leader got the feedback, which showed up in her 360 degree survey, it was quite shocking to her. She quickly started to change her behaviors to acknowledge and encourage others on her team and to make sure she gave them the spotlight when senior leaders visited her Region. She started asking her team each quarter what she should Stop-Start-Continue doing to be effective. This feedback technique helped her identify specific behaviors to incorporate into her leadership. While she is still a work in process, this leader continues to make progress with building a much stronger followership in the company.

COACHING TIPS FOR THE BOLD DERAILER

The leader should continue: Being a role model for optimism in the face of challenges and problems

The leader should stop: Barking out orders and bullying junior people

The leader should begin:

  • Asking trusted colleagues how you are perceived
  • Sharing credit for success with your team and taking responsibility for mistakes and failures
  • Listening to feedback
  • Remembering that the real competition is outside the corporation, not your peers or subordinates

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 roles.