Armstrong’s Cheating, Pistorius Shooting: Are Derailers Damaging your Development?

Lance Armstrong is a fallen hero and possibly the biggest sports cheater in our history. It has been a shame to see this unfold over the last year and I like others didn’t want to initially believe it. He has derailed in the most public and tragic way.

On Valentines Day, Oscar Pistorius, 26, became the latest fallen hero. He is accused of shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead in a murder the prosecution will allege was premeditated. He is the first amputee to compete at an able-bodied Olympics, called the “Blade Runner.” In moments his star fizzled and with the court hearing we will eventually learn how it happened. Whether it is true or not he can now not leave his country and his income potential and livelihood will be compromised.

These two incidents appear to be to be premeditated. Although the quickest and most frequent derailer, which is something that gets you off the track or rail to success, is to lose your impulse control. We have seen Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Elliott Spitzer and John Edwards with sex scandals. Serena Williams, Zinadine Zidane and  Ron Artest or Metta World Peace with outburst that damaged and tarnished their sports careers in 10 second “amygdala hijacks.”

Leaders need to focus on their Emotional Intelligence competencies and what can they build and broaden on, in Barbara Fredrickson’s terms. I like to say to leaders, what are the few things they need to “do more of, it’s not a make-over but a more over.”

This is all good unless you have a derailer or what Zenger and Folkman call “fatal flaws.” These have to be controlled, mitigated and addressed or you can derail in a moment of poor decision making, lack of impulse control or exhibiting too much ego and arrogance.

The leaders credibility is fragile and takes a long time to win back. When the derailers are present, decision making and problem solving can be compromised and damage your development. See if any of these Derailers are present for you by going to: .

The Derailer Detector identifies the top characteristics which can trump your Emotional Intelligence competencies.

Lance Armstrong, like Marion Jones and now Alex Rodriguez is back in the news all for performance enhancement drugs (PEDs).

Different than cheating on your wife or having an affair this doping is illegal gives unfair advantages. Armstrong lied to millions of people and destroyed careers of people that were on time friends and teammates.

In Leading with Emotional Intelligence, I created the Derailer Detector and have used with hundreds of leaders and their teams. There are 18 derailers gathered from the Center for Creative Leadership and other sources such as:  Dotlich and Cairo (2002) Why CEOs Fail , Kellerman (2004)  Bad Leadership and Lipman-Blumen (2005) The Allure of Toxic Leadership.

Lance Armstrong meets 11 of the 18 derailer behaviors. If these behaviors happen once a month they can trump any of Emotional Intelligence Competencies you have. For most executives 2-3 derailer that happen regularly are enough to undermine their success.

Which derailers plagued Lance Armstrong?

The derailers destroyed the career of an American hero. He is arguably the biggest fraud in the history of sports

In his interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong stated:

''I'm a flawed character,'' he said.

Did it feel wrong? Said Winfrey

''No,'' Armstrong replied. ''Scary.''

''Did you feel bad about it?'' Winfrey pressed him.

''No,'' he said. ''Even scarier.''

''Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?''

''No,'' Armstrong paused. ''Scariest.''

''I went and looked up the definition of cheat,'' he added a moment later. ''And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.''

Here are 2 of the 11 Derailers from the Derailer Detector that Armstrong demonstrated. The others are in the next blog.

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.

In the interview with Winfrey you he can see his arrogance and how in the past he would distrust and destroy others if they disagreed with the lie he was promoting.

If this is you people stop listening to your genius in minutes and stop respecting you shortly after that.

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

Lance lashed out at people who claimed he took performance enhancement drugs. Careers were crushed all to protect a lie.

If this is you the amygdala is in control, your IQ points are diminishing and a bad decision is approaching.

Test what Derailers are tempting your career and read the next blog for the other leadership alerts. .


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