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In the intricate realm of leadership, the road to success is filled with potholes capable of throwing one’s reputation off track. Derailing behaviours are a pattern of negative actions due to mounting stress, comfort, or a leader’s lack of self-reflection.

Given these metrics, it is pivotal for every aspiring leader to gain a comprehensive knowledge of derailing behaviours to preserve their professional course and impact the leadership domain.

Hence, this article aims to discuss the most common derailing leadership behaviours and suggest sensible ways to avoid them.

Failure to Adapt

A major derailing trait common among some leaders is their inability or reluctance to adapt to rapid changes. The business environment is dynamic, and a leader has to constantly grow and advance. If a leader becomes close-minded toward new ideas, methods, or innovations, their team’s engagement and creative potential dwindle, eventually becoming outdated.

Solution: Embrace a growth mindset, eager to learn, take feedback, and experiment. Be the kind of leader who listens to their team’s innovative suggestions and appreciates their input.

Poor Communication

Lack of clarity, inconsistent communication, or inability to listen can potentially confuse a team and diminish its cohesion among its members.

Solution: Practice active listening while ensuring your communication is straightforward and comprehensible. Be transparent when making decisions and open an environment of free constructive feedback.

Avoiding Tough Decisions

Sometimes, a leader’s role involves making difficult choices. However, many may fall into the trap of avoidance or indecision, compromising their respect and credibility with peers.

Solution: Develop a decision-making process. For example, you may collect information about the possible outcomes of your decision, make a list of pros and cons, and consult with someone you trust to help you evaluate the alternatives. Remember, a bad decision is usually better than no decision, even if it is the wrong one. You will learn from your mistakes and be able to correct them.


While you should be aware of what happens on your team, there is a fine line between thoroughness and micromanaging. Micromanaging demotivates your team by obstructing creativity and initiative.

Solution: Learn to trust your team. Learn to distribute your workload and allow your subordinates to take over tasks you entrusted to them. Make the grid of who is responsible for what, providing the necessary resources and stepping in when needed; otherwise, step back.

No Work on Yourself

Leaders who stop working on themselves quickly become outdated in their knowledge and skills, which decreases performance and spreads to the team members.

Solution: Do work on yourself. Attend workshops, read relevant books and articles, mentor, and see someone who would help you develop in a particular area. And help and encourage your team members to do the same – this way you will develop your full potential together.

Lack of Empathy

An emotionally disconnected leader will be unable to understand and appreciate her team’s feelings or the value of their opinion.

Solution: Start trying to understand where your team is coming from. Listen attentively and provide support where needed. Acknowledge contributions and motivate them.

Being a leader is not without its challenges, but by recognizing and actively working to avoid these derailing leadership behaviours, you can greatly increase your likelihood of sustained success. It requires a commitment to self-awareness, continuous personal development, and an unwavering focus on the well-being and growth of your team. The rewards of such an approach are immeasurable, not just in achieving organizational goals but in cultivating a healthy, vibrant work culture that thrives on mutual respect, innovation, and shared success.

Ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? Why not book a free 15-minute coaching call to discuss overcoming these common leadership challenges and achieving greater success? Use the link above to schedule an appointment at your convenience. Together, we can explore strategies and develop a personalized plan to enhance your leadership effectiveness and foster a thriving work environment.

Don’t miss this opportunity to invest in your personal growth and your team’s success.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734