The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 14, 2014

Career Coach: Are your derailers holding you back?

A few years ago, I wrote a Career Coach column titled "Your strengths can blow up your career; knowing that is key to prevention." Since that time, I have coached many more executives and leaders. and this issue continues to plague them.

My fellow coaches and I have witnessed so many people who aspire to higher-level positions kill their chances because of their personality derailers. It is so frustrating to watch someone who has incredible potential sabotage their own success because of faults in their behaviors and personality.

Could this be you, and if so, what should you do about it?

Marshall Goldsmith, in his book, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There," identified 20 habits that can hold you back from the top. They are things such as speaking when angry, being overly negative, making excuses, not listening, passing judgment, telling the world how smart you are, failing to give proper recognition and playing favorites.

Similarly, David Dotlich and Peter Cairo, in their book "Why CEOs Fail," point out 11 behaviors that can serve as derailers. These 11 are also captured by the Hogan Development Survey, an assessment developed by Hogan Assessment Systems that measures the dark side of people or how people behave when they are under stress and pressure.

Coaches often use assessments to measure a person's potential derailers. These might include determining whether you are excitable or volatile (moody, hard to please, easily annoyed); skeptical or distrusting (cynical, focused on the negative); cautious (slow to make decisions, resistant to change); reserved (aloof, indifferent to the feeling of others); a passive resister or leisurely (uncooperative, overtly helpful but privately stubborn); bold or arrogant (inflated feelings of self-worth); mischievous (limit-testing); colorful or melodramatic (poor listening skills; attention-seeking, interruptive); imaginative or eccentric (thinking or acting in unusual ways); diligent or perfectionistic (hard to please, micromanages); and dutiful (eager to please and reluctant to act independently).

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