To read this content please select one of the options below:

Leadership Derailment: A Neglected Field in Talent Management

Managing Talent: A Critical Appreciation

ISBN: 978-1-83909-094-3, eISBN: 978-1-83909-093-6

Publication date: 2 October 2019


In this chapter Suzanne Ross draws on her experience previously as a talent manager and now as a leadership consultant, Executive Coach and Senior Lecturer in Executive Education, and applies her research on leadership derailment to talent management. As organizations continue to invest in leadership development, research suggests up to 50 per cent of leaders derail or fail in their role. The derailment literature is, to-date, disconnected from TM although central to the definition of leadership derailment is that derailed leaders were previously successful and had potential. The chapter explores the concept of derailment, how it is defined, its scale and scope and some of the causes of derailment including a lack of organizational support during leadership transitions. The notion of the ‘accidental manager’ is used to provide an example of where literature on TM and derailment converge as a key derailer characteristic is having an overly functional orientation. This maps to the accidental manager concept and to the challenges that TM practitioners face in developing career pathways for expert/specialists beyond managerial roles. Suzanne argues that talent identification should take more account of derailment characteristics and suggests there may be gender differences in how these are perceived and in the consequences that arise when they are present. The chapter contributes to a greater understanding of how the concept of derailment can be integrated within talent management research and practice.


Ross, S. (2019), "Leadership Derailment: A Neglected Field in Talent Management", Swailes, S. (Ed.) Managing Talent: A Critical Appreciation (Talent Management), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 71-86.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited