[February 22, 2021] In his book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” Marshall Goldsmith outlines practical advice on how to be more successful. Goldsmith is one of the foremost thought leaders on executive coaching; a good place to begin to see how bad habits can hold you back.
Today, I’ll focus on just one of Goldsmith’s themes … bad habits of leaders. I found his list thought provoking and, of course, I’ve read them before in other self-help books. A critic of Goldsmith once wrote that the title of his book should have been “How to be Less of a Jerk.” Well, he was right but it does not take away the practical information Goldsmith gives us.
The 20 Bad Habits: Challenges in Interpersonal Behavior, from his book, pages 40-41:
- Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations.
- Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our 2 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, HOWEVER: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone that 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 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.