Last day of the OFFER FLAT 20% off & $20 sign up bonus Order Now

Last day of the offer FLAT 20% off & $20 sign up bonus


Free Resources

  • icon 75000+ Completed Assignments
  • icon 1500+ PhD Experts
  • icon 100+ Subjects we cater
  • icon 100% Secure Payment

BUS401 Management Leadership

Published : 22-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10


Please investigate how to do a Literature Review before starting this paper

While a lot of research has been conducted on what makes for effective leadership, there is also a good amount of research on why leaders derail, falter and fail. In this assignment, you are to conduct a literature review on the topic of leadership derailment and report back on what you discovered.



Leadership effectiveness is most explored topic in the organization literature. Leadership is a real phenomenon in human science. Generally, a study is conducted to analyze the issues, such as; effectiveness of leadership, leadership traits, characteristics of the successful leaders and theories of leadership. The major objective of this research is to understand why the leaders derail and fail. Further discussion will explore the possible causes of leadership derailment. This literature review will identify the characteristics of derailed leaders. Moreover, this review will identify the consequences of and strategies to manage the leadership failure. The purpose of this literature review is to determine that it is important to identify the causes why the leaders fail, falter and derail.

Literature Review


This paper used qualitative survey method, which also includes the secondary sources of data collection method. This research on leadership derailment will be conducted using the online sources and other library’s database to analyze various journals, books and articles on leadership derailment and its causes. The subject matter on this concept is limited. The qualitative method assists in analyzing the literature conceptually and critically.  A research provided understanding of facts of derailed leadership. This method provided a deep  knowledge about negative side of the leadership.

Leadership Derailment 

Leadership derailment is a concept, which is often used for the individual leaders, who are expected to move forward to the higher level but who are unpredictably failed. Leadership derailment happens when the leaders in the organization fail to attain their level of achievement and due to these reasons they are being demoted, transferred and terminated from their jobs. For the concept of leadership derailment, different implications have been given in the literature. Some authors used the word leadership failure that is abstracted in relation to the career derailment. Resulting from this concept, Burke & Stashevsky (2006) reflects the leadership derailment as being unwillingly terminated or demoted, if they are below the expected level of achievement (Burke & Stashevsky, 2006). For the leadership failure, the authors consider the executive derailment term that refers the situation, in which the executives are successfully doing in their career, but still they failed. Similarly, Henderson (2010) considers the leadership derailment as a state when the leader falls down in his role as a leader just because of some serious faults, which led him/her to derailment (Hendeson, 2010).

Furthermore, Aasland (2007) defined the derailed leaders as the leaders who pursue the anti-organizational or anti-subordinate behavior. These leaders are generally the ineffective leaders, who fail in achieving the organizational goals in a given time. Conger described the leadership derailment as “dark-side” of leadership (Aasland, Einarsen & Skogstad, 2007). With this, he described the different behaviors of the leaders, who derailed, as; humiliating, bullying or cheating. These all are the anti-subordinate behaviors. They can show the anti-organizational behaviors also, as fraud, absenteeism and theft at the organization. On this, Slattery (2009) defines this side of leadership as a continuous behavior that is shown by the leaders which results adversely in the organization based on the communications among follower, leader and overall environment (Slattery, 2009).

Reasons of Leadership Derailment

There are several reasons why the leaders fail in the organization. Sometimes they have different insight why they do. The reasons behind the leadership derailment are criticized and multi-faceted by combining the situational, behavioral and organizational factors, which have a large impact on the organizational results. According to the Sanborn (2015), there are two major aspects of credibility of a leader, i.e. character and competency. When these aspects are compromised, then it creates a reliability issue between leaders and subordinates. In this process, integrity issue of a leader is questioned when their ethical opinions are measured by their immoral actions. When the ethical decisions in the organization are made on the basis of achievement of outcome rather than the ways to achievement, then it creates the leadership derailment in the working environment (Sanborn, 2015).

Mackie (2008) defines two approaches, which cause the leadership derailment. First one is personality approach. This attempts to define the dysfunctional personality trait. When it combines with the better environmental promoter, then it causes the leadership derailment and discourages the performance of a leader in company (Mackie, 2008). The second is business approach which categorizes the threats as acquisitions and mergers, which influencing the people to leadership failure. Schilling (2009) defines that the leaders, who engage in the derailed leadership, they generally aim at the personal satisfaction rather than attainment of the organizational objectives (Schilling, 2009). In the same manner, Higgs (2009) recognizes four forces of this behavior, which consist of overuse of control, misuse of power, imposing damage on other people and breaking the rules for satisfying the self-needs (Higgs, 2009).

In the year 1996, Leslie & Velsor provide a list of reasons of leadership derailment (Inyang, 2013). The list is given below:

  • Unable to complete the assigned work, i.e. exposing the trust not following through
  • Poor interpersonal skills, like; being cool, insensitive, unfriendly and arrogant
  • Not able to create teams, not able to lead the teams
  • build a team, being unable to lead  a team
  • Incompetent to implement the changes post promotion in the organization

According to the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), there are few characteristics of the leaders, who derail, are listed below:

  • Failure in fulfilling the objectives of business
  • Unable to lead a team effectively
  • The leaders, who face the problems with the interpersonal relationship
  • Unable to accept the changes in working environment
  • Poor ability of listening

Impact of Leadership Derailment

Leadership derailment has negative consequences on the whole organization system. Wan (2008) sees these effects to include the incapability of achieving the goals of organization. It can result to the loss of organizational image or unethical behaviors and it decreases the mental well-being of the people, who negatively influenced by derailed executives (Wan, 2008). According to Slattery (2009), other consequences with this negative behavior at workplace are conflict, theft, bullying, harassment and immoral behavior. Due to this reason, the company may face the low of talent and can miss the business opportunities. There are some costs, which will be incurred in the organization, when it recruits new candidates to replace the leaders, engaged in the derailment. Thus, the leadership derailment has negative impacts to human resources of the organization such as; stakeholders, followers, failed leader and overall company (Slattery, 2009).

Leadership Derailment Prevention Strategies

Derailed leadership primarily affects the leaders, team members and other sides of organizational activities (Inyang, 2013). There are some strategies, which could be used for the prevention of leadership derailment in organization. The strategies are discussed below:

Leadership Training:

Talent Q. (n.d.) defines the leadership training that is required for assisting leaders to accept the changes, organize and understand fundamental reasons of the failure. This will help the organization to nurture the required behavior and skills, which in turn contribute the leader to work effectively. It will prevent derailment. This training will be beneficial for the leaders as well as for the organization.

Executive Training:

This is a form of training the management persons with the understanding and knowledge, which is required to groom them. Thomas & Pirtle (2010) provides the views that executive training impacts the leader, organizational effectiveness and leadership performance. If the organization conducts the executive training, then it can increase required skills of leaders and prevent the derailment (Thomas & Pirtle, 2010).

Effective management process:

Companies must improve the management practices to recognize the indicators of leadership failure and talk about them in selection procedure. Giving feedback for leader’s performance is very necessary. According to Furnhaam (2010), effective leaders seek the feedback from honest and reliable superiors in their career to observe that how they are doing in the organization. Getting systematic and honest feedback on performance can hinder leadership derailment. It plays an important role in leadership development (Furnhaam, 2010).

Building self-awareness:

The leadership development must start with the self-awareness. As discussed above, the people who are not self-aware generally engage in the derailment. Talent Q. (n.d.) considers that self-awareness assists a leader in developing the knowledge about the different traits of the behavior, which can lead a leader to leadership derailment (Talent Q, n.d.). Then, it helps in managing these aspects as a significant way of ensuring better performance and career development.


The leadership literature review tended to focus on the negative side of the leadership. In an organization, leadership derailment happens because there is any disconnection between competencies and skills of the leaders and needs of higher employment’s responsibility. This is having awful effects on leaders, subordinates and all over organization. There are some specific causes of the leadership derailment. Some strategies are required to prevent the leadership failure, such as; leadership training, executive training, creating self-awareness and effective management process. The organization must implement these strategies to avoid the situation of leadership derailment. The purpose of this literature review is to enhance the research about the leadership’s dark side to increase the ability and knowledge to develop the future leaders effectively.


Aasland, M., Einarsen, S. & Skogstad, A. (2007). Destructive Leadership Behavior: A definition and conceptual model. The Leadership Quarterly, 18 (3), 207-216.

Burke, R. J. & Stashevsky, S. (2006). Why leaders fail: Exploring the dark side. International Journal of Manpower. Vol. 27, Issue 1, pp. 91-100.

Furnham, A. (2010). When Leaders lose the plot. Management Today. Retrieved on 1, June 2010, from

Furnham, (2016). The Elephant in the Boardroom: The causes of leadership derailment. Springer Publications. 

Higgs, M. (2009). The good, the bad and the ugly: Leadership and narcissism. Journal of Change Management, 9(2), 165-178.

Henderson, K. D. (2010). Leadership derailment: Characteristics that undermine your success. Retrieved from

Inyang, B. J. (2013). Exploring the Concept of Leadership Derailment: Defining New Research Agenda. International Journal of Business and Management; Vol. 8, No. 16, pp. 78-85.  

Mackie, D. (2008). Leadership derailment and psychological harm. Psych, Australian Psychological Society. Retrieved on April 2008, from

Schilling, J. (2009). From ineffectiveness to destruction: A qualitative study of the meaning of negative leadership. Leadership, SAGE Journals 5(1), 102-128.

Sanborn, M. (2015). Why Leaders fail. Retrieved from

Slattery, C. (2009). The dark side of leadership: Troubling times at the top. Retrieved on November 2011 from

Thomas, R.E., Pirtle, J. & Jessie. (2010). Developing Leaders: An Analysis of efficacy of executive coaching. Leadership & Organizational Management Journal, 3, pp. 106-112.  

Talent Q. (n.d.). Personality and leadership derailment. Retrieved from

Wan, K. E. (2008). Understanding managerial derailment. Civil Service College, Issue 9.

Our Amazing Features


No missing deadline risk

No matter how close the deadline is, you will find quick solutions for your urgent assignments.


100% Plagiarism-free content

All assessments are written by experts based on research and credible sources. It also quality-approved by editors and proofreaders.


500+ subject matter experts

Our team consists of writers and PhD scholars with profound knowledge in their subject of study and deliver A+ quality solution.


Covers all subjects

We offer academic help services for a wide array of subjects.


Pocket-friendly rate

We care about our students and guarantee the best price in the market to help them avail top academic services that fit any budget.

Not sure yet?

Get in touch with us or

get free price quote.

Get A Free Quote