Derailing Your Leadership

These 18 derailers developed by Dr. Reldan Nadler are insightful for helping high performing leaders identify sabotaging actions that undermine leadership potential and performance.

“1. Smartest Person in the room syndrome- Have to be right all the time, married to your own ideas and are not open or distrusts new ideas

2. Lack of Impulse control – Emotionally reactive, volatile, abrasive and follow urges to an unhealthy extreme

3. Drives others too hard – Micromanage and take over rather than delegate

4. Perfectionism – Sets unrealistic goals, Reject criticism

5. Defensive – Blame others, inflexible and are argumentative

6. Risk averse – Lacks courage to take risks

7. Failure to learn from mistakes – Same kind of mistakes show up

8. Lacks insight into others – Can’t read others emotions or reactions

9. Doesn’t ask for feedback – Miss opportunities to include others for better decisions

10. Self-promotion- Attention seeking, overlook others accomplishments for own recognition

11. Lack of Integrity – “Unhonest” with self and then others, omit and minimize

12. Fail to adapt to cultural differences – Do not change your leadership style appropriately

13. Indirect with others – Do not give the hard feedback or make the difficult decisions about people

14. Approval dependent – Need too much approval before making decisions

15. Eccentricity – Unpredictable and odd in your behavior

16. Mistreats others – Callous, demeaning or discounting to others and their needs

17. Self-Interest – Acts in self-interest instead of the interest of the whole organization or larger group

18. Insular – Disregard of health and welfare of group outside the responsibility of your organization or team”

Derailers referened from Leading with Emotional Intelligence assessment

Key Elements of Self-Leadership

Self-leadership is essential to living in tune with our vision and desired legacy.  Self-leadership is the first link in the chain of high-performance leadership, if it is weak, everything else is vulnerable to breakdown.  Below are six key elements of self-leadership that enable leaders to thrive.  These elements overlap and have distinctive emphases.


Rhythm is the flow and harmony of our life.  When our rhythm is harmonized, we are giving the right attention, time and focus to the right things.  When our rhythm is off, we are neglecting the wrong areas of our life, investing too little or too much time one area to the detriment of others.  Perfect balance is not the goal of this word.  Life is too dynamic to pursue balance.  Instead, harmony is the word that speaks to health in the midst of competing priorities, agendas, and responsibilities.


Rituals are intentional sequences that align us to our grander vision, purpose, and perspective.  Rituals require us to be very present and engaged.  They are a conduit for connecting to our deepest life purpose. Rituals serve as reminders for the things that matter most. An example of a ritual would be reflecting on our life vision plan at the start of the week, reflecting on our values alignment at the end of the week, scripture reading or prayer.   


Routines are the repeated set of habits or processes that empower our potential and performance.  Routines bring structure and organization to our life in a manner that accomplishes our goals and vision.  Initiating routines requires effort and focus, but routines require less active energy over time once they are established.  An example of a routine would be an exercise routine, a morning routine, or a weekly planning routine.


Recalibrate is the intentional process to set and sustain priority focus.  In the whirlwind of daily leadership, priorities can become hidden in the fog of noise, conversations, urgent requests and surprises.  Leaders must be purposeful and intentional to determine priorities and establish planned check-ins to maintain course.


Refueling speaks to the diet, exercise, and rest needed for sustained performance over time.  Refueling is the self-care and self-management required to function at our peak performance and avoid burnout.  To best serve organizations and employees requires a leader who recharges and has the energy to required for strong self-leadership. 


Remembering is about living life with gratitude.  It is about receiving the gift of today and celebrating those we work with.  Leaders are pulled and pushed from various directions.  The pace and chaos that can swirl around them can accelerate the speed of life in an unhelpful manner. Remembering is both a posture and set of practices that help a leader live with gratitude and be fully present in today.

Why I Love Coaching Leaders

I began coaching for two reasons. First, I went through a pain point in my life that led me to get clear about who I was, what I was uniquely gifted for, and how I was put on this earth serve others. As is true in all of our stories, so often our pain points reveal our purpose.
The second catalyst for becoming a coach was experiencing the transformative power of a coaching relationship myself. I knew what teaching was, mentoring, counseling and consulting, but I had never experienced the nuances of coaching. For me, it was a powerful combination of structure, focus and aligning my motivation zone with my vision and goals. The growth I experienced being coached ignited a desire within me to sharpen my own coaching skills and serve others.
I have had the blessing of coaching leaders across the private, public, and social sectors. Most are either aspiring high potential leaders or are in senior management. I take a holistic approach in my coaching from a biblical worldview, partnering with leaders so they:
  • Live their Legacy
  • Lead from their Uniqueness
  • Elevate their Performance
One of the greatest returns for me personally as a coach is the text message that comes after a leader has made significant progress, overcame an obstacle or are living their desired legacy in a way they have never experienced. Getting to celebrate with clients is a privilege that never grows old.
I am selective in my coaching because of my work as the director of a leadership institute at a private equity and philanthropic firm. Though I primarily express coaching now through my work there, I still maintain a selective private practice. I would love to chat further to discuss how coaching may help you accomplish your goals.
Brian Bennett
(c) 636/248/7161

11 Theology of Work Statements

It is important to identify our beliefs because they give shape to the fabric of our theology.  Individual beliefs are like various threads that ultimately weave together to form our perspective or our understanding of something, in this case, our work.  Below are eleven statements about work that are not comprehensive, but together begin to weave a fabric that will help guide our being, knowing and doing as it relates to living out our faith in and through our work.

  1. We were created for meaningful work as seen in Genesis 1:26-28
  2. We are God’s workmanship, gifted and shaped intentionally by God (Ephesians 2:10)
  3. We have been entrusted with various truths, gifts, experiences, and resources that we are called to steward (Matthew 25:14-30)
  4. Every vocation has dignity and must be honored
  5. Work is a fundamental expression of our love for neighbor
  6. We work best when we collaborate with other workers
  7. God created work as a primary means through which he provides and sustains his creation
  8. When we work well, we reflect the ultimate worker
  9. Work is an act of worship unto the Lord
  10. All human work is secondary to the primary work of God
  11. Work has been corrupted by sin, so we must be sober minded of our own temptations in our work and the systemic issues and injustices that arise

Reflective Practitioners

“Reflective practitioners think in action; that is, they practice while reflecting mindfully on their actions, in order to continuously improve both their theories and their practices.”

Getting Beyond Better, Martin & Osberg


As I coach leaders and seek to align my own desired legacy with actual reality each day, I find tools can help empower the journey.  I recently developed the tool below as a way to help myself and the leaders I serve keep pulse on the things that matter most and the key focuses that align with their desired future.

A dashboard helps maintain awareness, clarity and alignment.  The tool is flexible so that you can apply all of it or part at any given moment.  While in the coaching partnership there are many exercises I walk clients through that expand and clarify the various elements of the tool, it can still be useful for leaders to use individually.  I recommend working through it fully once to see which parts are most relevant to your life and work.  And then utilize it in these ways that are most impactful to you:

  • At the start of days (weeks) to energize focus for what is ahead and orient yourself to the day
  • At the end of days (weeks) for alignment reflection on maintaining vision, values and priorities
  • In prayer times as an act of surrender and seeking God’s grace and power over each aspect
  • At the end of the month as part of a half-day or full day altitude moment for work and life perspective
  • In mentoring relationships as you seek to support and help others develop


Servant-Leaders as Mentors

Mentoring relationships can energize, empower, and catalyze both the mentor and the mentee towards their full potential.

One of my readings for an MBA class was Personal and Organizational Excellence through Servant Leadership, by Sen Sendjaya.  Speaking of the transformational presence of servant-leaders, Sendjaya defines mentoring  as “an interpersonal relationship where a mentor guides others who are inexperienced or less senior to them to achieve personal and professional goals.”

The author then goes on to define how servant-leaders impact others through the mentoring relationship dynamics.

Leaders serve others as mentors by:

  1. “Becoming good students of their individual followers, seeking to understand their needs
  2. Disciplining themselves to listen attentively to their aspirations and dreams rather than opening their mouth at every opportunity to advertise their stream of consciousness
  3. Being willing to have their lives complicated by the struggles of their followers without impatience or complaint
  4. Intensively asking thoughtful questions to push them beyond their boundaries
  5. Challenging and clarify their preconceived notion of their personal values and beliefs.”

As you continue to mentor other leaders or consider the possibility, keep the Being, Knowing, Doing model in mind.

The being, knowing, doing framework helps us consider the whole person as we come alongside another leader, addressing their:

  • Character & Recognition of full dimensions of their humanity (i.e. Emotions)
  • Mental Paradigms
  • Competency Development

By coming alongside other leaders in a mentoring relationship with the motivation of serving and blessing, we are able to help purposefully help them cultivate the fullness and uniqueness of who they are for their life vocation, roles and responsibilities.


Questions for reflection and action:

  • Who comes to your mind as you read this post?  Why?
  • What are the names of the younger leaders who you see their potential?
  • What could it look like to integrate each aspect of Being, Knowing, Doing?
  • What would you let keep you from crossing comfort zones and mentoring younger leaders?
  • What do you or would you enjoy the most from a mentoring relationship?


Sen Sendjaya. (2015).  Personal and Organizational Excellence through Servant Leadership.

*While it has excellent content, it was an academic read, so keep your learning drivers in mind if you decided to pick it up.


The More We Hide, the Less We Grow

Hiding is one of the enemies to growth. Hiding comes about as we try to look smarter than we are, be approved by others, and seem like we have things more together than we do. Insecurity is normally one of the key ingredients that drives us into hiding.

When we choose hiding as a protection strategy, we avoid vulnerability, we miss new experiences, and we don’t ask questions that would accelerate our growth.

Hiding looks safer than it really it is. It works for awhile, but eventually we don’t learn from experiences where we would have been uncomfortably stretched. We don’t make the connections or build the network that would have been established. In the end, we aren’t better off for the hiding. We ultimately lower our trajectory of growth by trading a sense of comfort in the immediate for long-term returns on our personal growth and development.

Hiding Can Appear as:

  • Not asking questions
  • Avoiding a stretching job assignment
  • Not advocating for our own growth
  • Blending into the background for fear of messing up
  • Lowering our risk quotient until its completely manageable
  • Passivity
  • Blaming
  • Failure to strategize personal growth
  • Not investing in one’s own growth
  • Letting fear have the final word
  • Embracing limiting beliefs and statements about self, future, and possibilities

Each one of our lives has purpose and meaning. We have intrinsic value as human beings regardless of our doing. But when we embrace hiding, not only do we create an unhelpful ceiling in our own life and leadership, the world around us misses out on the best version of us.

6 Pathways for Leaving Hiding Behind

  • Take on new and different, stretching assignments at work or in volunteer roles
  • Invest in own growth through planning and proactively seek out learning opportunities or relationships
  • Ask for feedback from helpful sources
  • Work on emotional intelligence by recognizing, reflecting upon, and choosing a response to emotions and connected thoughts
  • Embrace the feeling of being uncomfortable, knowing those moments are connected to high growth possibilities
  • Reframe failure as another step in the process on the way to figuring it out instead of an event that is the final chapter

Living with a growth mindset requires vulnerability, calculated risks, and a curiosity that will lead us to stretch. When we embrace being uncomfortable or not having all the answers, we are choosing to not let insecurity or fear have the final word. In the process, we grow and develop and everyone around us benefits.