How Doers Derail Teams and Halt Progress

Whatever you do, don’t add a doer to a project that’s 25% done.* You might think they’d get the ball rolling. Instead they send teams into tailspins.

Doers drain energy and derail progress, when they join work that’s already in progress.


Most people know if they’re a doer, dreamer, or feeler, even if they haven’t clearly defined the terms. Everyone has all three. Everyone has a dominant orientation.

I’m focusing on doers today. If you are a doer there are only two options.

  • Doer-dreamer-feeler
  • Doer-feeler-dreamer


Great doers:

  1. Decide quickly.
  2. Start few things – finish many.
  3. Prefer caution to spontaneity.
  4. Don’t enjoy brainstorming. (It’s a waste of time.)
  5. Protect gains.
  6. Focus on one thing at a time.
  7. Choose practicality over creativity.

Doer as derailer:

A frustrated doer is a derailer.

Doers care about how work is done. You do things the ‘right’ way when working with doers.

Doers love explicit direction and clear plans. When they join work in progress they ask about S.O.W’s (Statements of Work), plans, timelines, and assignments. They want to know who’s doing what, when.

A late coming doer drags teams back to the beginning.

Recovery is slow when an aggressive doer drags teams back to the start of a project.

Preventing derailment:

  1. Don’t spring new projects on doers. They’re planners.
  2. Get their buy-in before they join the team.
  3. Explain the project in private. Answer all their questions thoroughly.

When a doer has clarity, you can’t stop them.

Tip: Doer-feelers are less destructive than doer-dreamers. Emotional intelligence comes into play.

How might leaders address the tendency of doers to derail work that’s already in progress?

*I’m thankful to a coaching client who made the observation that doers stall teams when they join work that’s already in progress.