A book overview to help you recognize the habits holding you back from success
Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a single spot? Maybe you’re feeling it right now. You’re doing well, you’re aware of your successes, yet still, something’s not right. Maybe you want more. You’ve got the job you wished for and are a leader, a manager. You have status, benefits, compensation. Your work yields results, both for your company and your team. But still. Something’s not quite there yet. Do you know the feeling?
Well, even if you don’t know it, it might not be a bad topic to start working on. Why wouldn’t you address the behaviors that have brought you where you are? Why wouldn’t you think about new ones that might set you up for future success? 🙂
One of the hurdles successful people face in life is knowing that they’ve done everything they ever wanted to accomplish. Once they come to believe there’s nothing left to learn, or that there’s no need to change anymore – well, that’s where problems start.
How is this a problem? It’s a process that leads to stagnation. It’s stopping successful people from achieving even better results, being better leaders, managers, business owners. Better people.
When our behaviors lead to positive outcomes, they easily become habits. Habits allow us to go through life on autopilot. Sometimes, this is good. Still, do you ever wonder whether you want to go through life on autopilot? I expect that you aren’t completely in favor of the idea.
Marshal Goldsmith is a world-famous executive coach who helps CEOs and leaders of big corporations become even better at their jobs. Encouraging them to make positive changes, he bases his work on discovering and changing their habits:
What Goldsmith points out is the following: success following certain behaviors doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the result of those same behaviors. Some habits, surely, have a role in achieving results. Others, however, aren’t useful. Nonetheless, we keep them due to our belief that they played a role in earlier successes.
Goldsmith wrote two books on the subject. Both are exceptionally good material for managers who are ready to change their behaviors and achieve even more than before.
In the first book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Goldsmith points out the behaviors many of us show at our workplaces. He defines habits that have helped successful people reach their goals, but that are stopping them from becoming exceptional leaders and people.
This is a list of the 20 common habits stopping successful people from moving from the category of good leaders, to that of exceptional ones:
- 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 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.
Have you recognized yourself in any of these habits?
Goldsmith’s other book, co-written with Sally Helgesen How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job focuses on behaviors often shown by female leaders. It doesn’t expose predetermined behaviors women show just because of their gender. Rather, it shows the habits they have developed. Such habits are rooted in gender stereotypes, acquired through women having to position themselves in a “men’s business world.”
Goldsmith and Helgesen identify 12 habits women have, that are stopping them from getting ahead:
- Reluctance to claim your achievements
- Expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions
- Overvaluing expertise
- Just building rather than building and leveraging relationships
- Failing to enlist allies from day one
- Putting your job before your career
- The perfection trap
- The disease to please
- Minimizing your own contributions
- Too many emotions & words or too much introspection
- Letting your radar distract you, processing too much information at once, forgetting about your work role
I wholeheartedly recommend both books to anyone feeling like they’re stuck, blocked, or simply want more. Both are ideal for people ready to make a change and take the next step in their career and personal development.
If you wish to enlist the support of a coach on your road towards change, I’d be glad to be your companion. The first coaching session is free, and looks at discovering the client’s needs, goals, and seeing whether the coaching process is the right step.
To contact me with your inquiries regarding my coaching services, click HERE.
Disclosure: The links referring to books, in this article, are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click thought and make a purchase of the book.