In his book, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful", my friend Marshall Goldsmith explores the idea that many qualities that contribute to success early on in a person's career can become obstacles to further success later on. For example, a driven and competitive personality may help someone to achieve initial success but can alienate others and create an uncooperative work environment. In order to continue growing and achieving, successful people need to be aware of these potential pitfalls and learn to adapt their behavior accordingly.
Peter Drucker famously said, "We spend a lot of time helping leaders learn what to do. We do not spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop."
In the book Marshall discusses the 20 bad habits of leaders. Marshall said, “Everyone I have met has exhibited one or more of these behaviors, including me!”
Do you identify with any of these bad habits? If you are like the majority of people, the answer is yes, and you are ready to start using “What to Stop.”
- Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations.
- Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
- Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
- Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us witty.
- Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone “I’m right and you’re wrong.”
- Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
- Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
- Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
- Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
- Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to give praise and reward.
- Claiming credit that that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contributions to any success.
- Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
- Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
- Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
- Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
- Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
- Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
- Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.
- Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
- An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
Marshall went on to say, “For those who still aren’t sure what to stop, there is one habit that I’ve seen take precedence over all of the others. You may be part of the majority of people who partake of this bad habit. What is the number one problem of the successful executives I’ve coached over the years? It is Winning Too Much.”
Marshall provides numerous examples of successful people who have made this transition and offers practical advice for doing so. This book is an essential read for anyone looking to take their career to the next level.
By Dean Miles
Keywords: Business Strategy, Business Continuity, Mental Health