Bad habits from the top
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There is a book by Marchall Goldsmith an Executive Coach in the US. It holds the basic premise that there are a handful of workplace habits that often keep successful people from making the next big leap forward in their career. The author, seeks to identify those habits and help you to overcome them so you can make that next big leap in whatever you’re planning to do with your life.
The Trouble with Success
Whenever a CEO or Senior Executive experiences success, they usually get a very positive feeling out of it. Their self-esteem goes up and they begin to have more confidence in their abilities. However, this only goes so far: often, when a person has a string of successes, they begin to adopt a handful of beliefs that aren’t necessarily true. They begin to believe that they are more responsible than they actually are for the success of projects and they begin to believe that their value is much higher than reality actually shows.
This is a human failing, one that anyone with some measure of success can fall prey to. I’ve fallen prey to it myself – more than once, I’ve managed to make myself believe that I was somehow superior simply because I performed my individual role well. This is a dangerous thing to ever believe, even if it happens to be true. It alters your own behaviour in a lot of ways and sets you up for failure, not for success.
The Twenty Habits That Hold You Back From The Top
This problem with success often manifests itself in the form of destructive habits in the workplace, of which Goldsmith lists twenty. He lays out very brief summaries of these twenty habits on a single page, which I’ll quote for interest’s sake:
- Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.
- 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 sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
- Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. 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 praise and reward.
- Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
- Making excuses: The need to re-position 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 when 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 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.