Management executives are only human. Everyone climbs the mountain toward success and descends into valleys of failure. The goal is to stay on the summit as much as possible.

Hiring managers seek out candidates with high potential levels. These people are leaders who can progress to the top of their industry. Senior-level executives take charge of the organisation, establishing the momentum needed to strive toward the long-term goals of the company.

These leaders can seem to be infallible. Many people in the organisation look to those on the leadership team for inspiration and guidance.

That’s why it is crucial to recognise the potential signs of management derailing.

What Is Management Derailing?

Derailed managers are people who failed at their position for some reason. It is the same process that every other level of the hierarchy managers when turnover exists.

The issue for an organisation is that an executive exerts more influence over the direction of a company compared to a front-line worker.

Management derailing isn’t an inevitable outcome. Proactive assessments and interactive insights can work to spot the signs and symptoms of potential failure before it happens.

The Warning Signs of a Potential Derailment

Some executives decide to quit without any previous warning. Life’s circumstances can change quickly. Rick Moranis left Hollywood to care for his family after becoming a superstar. A vice president can decide to do the same thing.

Most leaders exhibit one of these five signals when the derailing process starts. If these symptoms can get recognised early, preventative measures can stop it from occurring.

1. Relationship Problems
A leader that goes from working with their people to an isolated venue can be a potential red flag. Some executives might transition from being a team player to a lone wolf. The workers that report through that person’s chain of command my describe the individual as being arrogant, authoritarian, or aloof.

2. Narrow Orientation
Some leaders excel within their current function. Asking that executive to step out of that comfort zone might expose their overall lack of experience. They might be a technical expert, but it is not possible to function within a broader scope of responsibilities.

3. Business Objective Failure
Missing a goal or going over-budget here and there is something that occurs to everyone. If it frequently happens to the same executive, it can be an indication of derailment. These leaders often have fantastic ideas and ambitious plans, but they do not have the skill or desire to follow through on those concepts.

4. Independently Minded
Mangers headed toward derailment lose the skill to form or lead their team successfully. Not only can the individual lose their eye for talent, but they may no longer recognise when conflict happens. This symptom can get to the point where the wrong team members get assigned to projects as a method of self-sabotage in extreme cases.

5. Unable to Change
Change happens on a variety of fronts in the modern workplace. New technologies, leadership turnover, or best practice updates create resistance within the leader who is in the process of derailing. Leaders in this position often say a variation of, “We never did it like this before,” as a way to justify their lack of engagement. External influences can also force change on people, which many businesses had to manage due to COVID-19 developments.

The hiring process can prevent many of these issues through psychometric profiling and assessments during the candidate evaluation process. Most leaders recover from the first stages of derailment with intervention and support, but only when the warning signs get noticed immediately.

Have you had to deal with management derailing in the past? How did you manage the situation or recover from the incident?