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.