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Leaders that Sabotage Themselves: Part 2

Posted on June 20th, 2013

Daniel Goleman’s research on emotional intelligence established that people who fail in life and work has to do, more often, with who they are (EQ) then what they know (IQ). Many people have built on this work over the years. David Dotlich and Peter Cairo in their book, Why CEO’s Fail, identify 11 detailers they consistently found in CEO’s and senior leaders in their work around the world. They are:

  • Arrogance: You’re right and everybody else is wrong.
  • Melodrama: You always grab the center of attention.
  • Excessive Caution: Your mood swings drive business swings.
  • Habitual Distrust: The next decision you make may be your first.
  • Aloofness: You disengage and disconnect.
  • Mischievousness: Rules are made to be broken.
  • Eccentricity: It’s fun to be different just for the sake of it.
  • Passive Resistance: Your silence is misinterpreted as agreement.
  • Perfectionism: Get the little things right even if the big things go wrong.
  • Eagerness to Please: Winning the popularity contest matters most.

These derailers, they found, emerge most commonly under stress. We all have at least two or three, and every trait has a positive side that helps people achieve success. While the author’s provide guidelines and steps to “manage” these dysfunctional behaviors, their list is helpful as we consider our own leadership. Their goal is simply ensuring that companies and CEO’s flourish. Ours is larger and deeper (i.e. transformation into the image and likeness of Jesus). Nonetheless, it is quite a good list to prayerfully consider as you think about your leadership under great stress.

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