Taking Your Leadership to the Next Level by Removing the Limiting Habits

By Alan Gehringer

dateTue, Sep 10, 2013 @ 10:41 AM

Do you ever ask yourself if what got you here will get you where you want to grow as a leader or entrepreneur?  I find myself asking that question and I have clients asking for help to makeMarshall Goldsmith Book What Got You Here Wont Get You There them more effective leaders.  As I continue on my own quest to improve and grow, I came across this book written by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith.  Marshall is recognized as one of the world’s best leadership thinkers and executive coaches.  He has written 32 books; the one I am reading now is “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

The book states that we spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do and not enough time teaching them what to stop doing.  You have heard the old saying “success breeds success,” right?  This is true, but it can also hold us back from reaching the next level in our careers, companies and development.   Four key beliefs that help us to succeed are:

1.    I have succeeded.

2.    I can succeed.

3.    I will succeed.

4.    I chose to succeed. 

As powerful as these beliefs are, it is these four beliefs that may also hold us back.   Because of the success we have experienced, it can be hard to justify or admit that there are changes to our behavior we can make to be even more successful.  We all know that change is hard for everyone, but even more so for successful people.  We develop patterns as human beings.  These patterns have given us the confidence to dig in, push through and rely on ourselves to get things done and achieve our goals.  Sometimes we need to stop, though, and look at some of the behaviors we have adopted and ask ourselves if there are habits that are limiting us as we aspire to reach the next plateau.  Marshall points out 20 habits that are common among leaders.  These habits may have been effective or a non-issue at one point in their career, but now may be limiting factors.

Here is the list of 20 Habits that Marshall has compiled.  As you read through the list, think about which ones resonate with you.  It is probably only one, two or three of these listed, but be honest with yourself.

1.    Winning too much

2.    Adding too much value

3.    Passing judgment

4.    Making destructive comments

5.    Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”

6.    Telling the world how smart we are

7.    Speaking when angry

8.    Negativity or “Let me explain why that won’t work”

9.    Withholding information

10.  Failing to give proper recognition

11.  Claiming credit that we don’t deserve

12.  Making excuses

13.  Clinging to the past

14.  Playing favorites

15.  Refusing to express regret

16.  Not listening

17. Failing to express gratitude

18. Punishing the messenger

19. Passing the buck

20. An excessive need to be “me”

Anything sound familiar?  Another suggestion is to share the list with one of your trusted colleagues or advisors to see if they recognize any of these traits in you.  The key is to identify which habits you need to work on to produce the change needed to make you a more effective leader.  It may help to share the habit you identify with a trusted person to hold you accountable and make you aware when you exhibit these traits.  Marshall has used the approach of offering money to others when they see the habit in action.  This can be a good way to make you aware of just how often you do the things you are trying to change. 

It takes 21 days on average to alter your behavior.  The first step is to identify what changes you want to make.  These are all easy things to fix if you just commit to doing so.  Are you ready to get started?  I know I am. Your future success is waiting for you.  Good luck, and let me know your thoughts as you allow yourself to reach the next level.

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Alan Gehringer


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