AVOIDING THE TRAPS

Derailing: losing whatever you had

 

POWERFUL QUESTIONS

The metaphor of a train coming off track is often used to describe how some executives or directors sometimes first reach a "plateau" in their leadership role and then completely "derail" because some fatal flaws... As with train derailment, such accidents are almost never intentional! They rather come as a surprise to the executive - especially if and when the person was considered "high potential" - and they do cause extensive damage, both to the individual and to the organisation... 
Leaders who "derail" have three major characteristics in common: they have difficulty in changing or adapting to new contexts or situations and are often perceived as "rigid" by others; they have problems with interpersonal relations and - often being perceived as abrasive, arrogant, cold, distant, insensitive or intimidating - as a result, wound other; and they fail to build and lead teams - as they ver-manage, find it difficult to staff effectively, fail to delegate or to appropriately acknowledge individual unique contributions, personal motivators and values. 
You are invited to reflect on the following derailment factors 
 
- How flexible or rigid are you? 
- How able are you to adapt to differences?
- Could arrogance be a cause of your isolation?
- How do you manage your emotions and impulses?
- Could excessive ambition blind you?
- Could you be over-managing?
- Could you be a team averse?
... and, if needed, to seek feedback on specifics as a result! 
How rigid are you? 
Xun Zi: "The rigid cause themselves to be broken"
We invite you to reflect on the following questions:
- Have you ever been managed by a highly rigid - autocratic, coercive and directive - person? How did you feel?? What did you do as a       result? 
- Could you be managing others the way you have been managed? Could you be exerting revenge about the way you have been treated,   on others? 
- Have others told you that "see things in black and white"? 
- Do you often use such "you should do ...", "you should be...", "you must..."? Could you consider stopping using them? 
- How do you take criticism or negative feedback? Do you shut down? Become defensive? Deny it? Or do you always take it as a chance       to learn? 
When do you take criticism or negative feedback? Do you shut down? Become defensive? Deny it? Or do you always take a chance to       learn? 
- When and how do you blame others? Can you blame others for your own mistakes? When and how do you admit personal flaws or             mistakes? 
- Do others tell you that you are accessible and approachable?
- Do you learn a lot from personal growth books, articles or leadership development workshops? If not, what prevents you from learning? 
- How could you become less defensive, more open to personal learning?  
How well do you adapt to differences?
W. Churchill: "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"
We invite you to reflect on the following questions:
- How open are you to change your mind? To welcoming new subjects and approaches? 
- What makes you want not to change your mind? 
- How ready and willing are you to adapt to new new and different managers, colleagues, strategies, plans, cultures, ways of working, ways   of living? 
How well do you work with people who disagree with you? Do you have 'trusted opponents'? 
- How easy or difficult for you is it to handle conflicting views? 
- How broad are your interests? How international or global are you in your interests? 
- How open are you to new and different approaches and ways of doing things? 
- How well do you relate to people with different beliefs, from other cultures and other parts of the world? 
Could arrogance be a cause of your isolation? 
J. Ruskin: "I believe the first test of a truly great man is humility"
We invite you to reflect on the following questions:
- Do you show humility? How? When? 
- What makes you think humility is a sign of weakness? 
- How often do you think you have the right and only answer? What could be possible reasons for that? 
- What makes you appreciate your own ideas? Your upbringing? Your diplomas? Your belief in how clever you are? 
- How often are you cold, distant, aloof with others? If you do, is it because you are not comfortable with people? Or because you prefer     technical matters to people? 
- How do you rate your interpersonal competence skills? How do others rate them? Are you sure? 
- "It's lonely at the top", they say... Is your ultimate objective to finish alone? 
How do you manage your emotions and impulses?
M. Gandhi: "Force, violence, pressure, or compulsion with a view to conformity are both uncivilized and undemocratic."
We invite you to reflect on the following questions:
- How often do you get emotional, impatient or angry when things do not go as planned?
- When and how do you display cynicism, hostility or sarcasm with others when stress increases? 
- Do you withdraw from others when stress increases? 
- Do you tend to become defensive in situations of stress? 
- In your search for perfection, do you make your own life - and the life of others - difficult to live as a result?  
- Do you tend to mix very strong control over people and things with very weak impulse and emotional control? 
- Are you sure you overwhelmed, trying to do too much by yourself without asking support from others? 
- Has the time come for you to learn to be calm and cool under pressure? 
Could excessive ambition blind you?
P. Drucker: "So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work"
We invite you to reflect on the following questions:
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
Could you be over-managing?
H.D. Thoreau: "Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools!"
We invite you to reflect on the following questions:
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
- Have you...?
Could you be team averse?
F. Dostoïevski : "Each of us is responsible for everything to everyone else"
We invite you to reflect on the following questions:
- How, when and why did you get promoted to a management position? Were you successful as a contributor and in your area of                   professional expertise? 
- How and when do you work alone? How could you accomplish more by working with others more? 
- Do you prefer one-on-one exchanges to meetings and workshops? 
- Could you be telling yourself that you are not 'a people person'? 
- Would you like to build a team but you don't know how to?
- Are the vision and objectives that are clear in your mind clear for everyone around you?
- When there are problems in the team, do you find it difficult to resolve them? Do you find it difficult to deal with conflict? 
- Do you acknowledge members of your team? Do you share credit for accomplishments? Do you celebrate small wins and successes? 
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