Avoid Derailment!

Our Executive Pastor sent me this today. Great stuff!

What are the five big lessons we can learn from studying those who derailed?

1. Character Trumps Competence – While being good at what we do is essential, more people fail because of some issue related to character. Many of those I studied were ultimately fired not because of a lack of competence but rather a failure of character. I don’t mean character in the sense of being dishonest and defrauding the organization. Rather, the absence of one or more of four dimensions of character is clearly tied to derailment: authenticity, self-management, humility, and courage. The full expression of the dark side of these qualities nearly always dooms us.

2. Arrogance is the Mother of All Derailers – Arrogance takes many forms. The most rudimentary is the self-centered focus that fosters a belief that I am central to the viability of the organization, the church, the ministry, the department or the team. A dismissiveness of others’ contributions is inevitable.

3. Lack of Self/Other Awareness is a Common Denominator of All Derailments – A failure of self-management and the imperceptive, ill-conceived, impulsive or volatile actions that follow are certain derailers. Leaders who eschew corrective feedback become “truth-starved.”

4. We Are Always Who We Are…Especially Under Stress – Stress brings out what’s inside us. If you don’t think you have a dark side to your character, then you probably haven’t been under enough stress! Wise leaders manage their stress levels and mitigate its pernicious impact on our behavior.

5. Derailment is Not Inevitable, but without Attention to Development, it is Probable – Derailment is a process that proceeds in predictable stages. Ignoring the early warning signs puts us in great peril.

Effective leaders must set direction, gain alignment among diverse constituencies, risk change, build high-performing teams, achieve results, go the extra mile and endure ungodly stress. However, to be enthusiastically followed, leaders must also be guided by an inner compass that fosters trust on the part of their followers. That compass is character. When character is seriously compromised, derailment often follows.


~ by pennymaxwell on December 17, 2009.

One Response to “Avoid Derailment!”

  1. Just to clarify this is an excerpt from a book by Tim Irwin called Derailed. He studied 6 high profile CEO’s who derailed in their leadership in catastrophic ways. His studied revealed that several themes ran through the stories of each of these CEO’s. The above 5 things will help all of us, whether running a Fortune 500 company or leading in the church, avoid derailing in our leadership. I would recommend picking up the book and reading it in its entirety.

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