Marshall Goldsmith’s book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” examines those traits and behaviours that hold back great leaders from reaching their full potential. The book is illustrated with actual case studies from his many years of coaching senior managers in organisations. The list of potentially career limiting behaviours is shown below. Goldsmith identifies the symptoms, effects and possible answers to dealing with these negative behaviours.
Take a look at the list of behaviours and see if you can identify any of them in yourself or members of your management team. If a number of them strike a chord with you, perhaps it’s time to bring in a Coach to help unlock the full potential of your leadership team.
- 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 sarcasm 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 behaviour 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 favourites: 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.
- An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
Perhaps Machiavelli could paint these flaws as virtues and demonstrate how they function as clever counterintuitive tactics for getting a leg up on our rivals. But in the course of examining each of these irritants, Goldsmith demonstrates that correcting them is the best way to enlist people as our allies – which in the long run is a much more promising success strategy than defending behaviour that alienates people.
Admittedly, this is a scary pantheon of bad behaviour and when they’re collected in one place they sound more like a chamber of horrors. Who would want to work in an environment where colleagues are guilty of these sins? And yet we do every day. The good news is that these failings rarely show up in bunches. You may know one person guilty of one or two of them. You may know another with one or two different issues. But it’s hard to find successful people who embody too many of these failings. That’s good, because it simplifies our task of achieving long-term positive change.
Call WayAhead to find out how to bring out your leaders’ full potential and avoid the pitfalls of success-limiting behaviours.