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Managerial Derailment

by Dr. Mario Denton


It is ironic that the very strengths that get managers "fast tracked" early on in their career, can sometimes also bring about their downfall. These high potential managers are developed at an extremely fast pace and are expected to rise to the top of the organization. Their focus is mainly on the operational side and they invest all their energy in the organization, at the expense of paying attention to their own growth and development.

The problem arises when, despite their potential, they are not able to keep up with ever-changing needs. As a result, perhaps ten years or more down the line, they may suddenly find themselves "derailed". Perhaps this is because they don't have the required managerial profile, or have simply reached a point where they no longer have the interest or energy to cope with changing demands.

The concept of "derailment" is real. It impacts negatively on the individual as well as the organization. Both have invested heavily and both lose out. What went wrong? "Rising stars" often take it upon themselves to "go it alone" and the organization is only focused on operational issues and the generation of profit. Both rush forward and often forget about the most important element in business — the human asset — because the focus was too heavily focused on tangible assets.

So who gets "derailed"?

Derailors are:

The concept of "derailment" is real. It impacts negatively on the individual as well as the organization.

In contrast, successful managers adopt an open management style. They are open to feedback and appreciate input from their staff. They recognize the value of development through delegation and are not hung up on power and control. Status and perks are of little interest to them and they invest equally in their own and the organization's development. They move with the times and adapt easily because they are flexible and open to change. They value their staff and are empathetic to their needs as individuals. And most importantly… they value themselves.

As a manager, twice each year ask two questions to the rest of your team:

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About the author

Dr. Mario Denton

Dr. Mario Denton (South Africa)

Dr. Mario Denton is an international teacher, industrial psychologist, holds two counseling diplomas and two master's degrees, (MEcon and MBA). He completed his PhD as well as DBA in Organizational Behavior and Business Administration. Dr. Denton's website is

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