Last week I outlined Marshall Goldsmiths 20 Bad Habits You Need To Stop Right Now.

These habits fueled you to where you are today though unlikely to take you where you want to go tomorrow. In essence, you have what we call in the coaching world, a gap.

What you need is a brand new vehicle with a new set of behaviors to crush this gap and take you to where you want to go quicker.

In this post I give my thoughts on Bad Habits one through four and a suggestion on how to break each one.

1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations.

I’ve known people with this habit. Though I’m not sure I’d call it a habit. In my opinion it’s part of their DNA. They only have one speed; win baby win!

I worked for a manager who had the acronym IWIN posted in conspicuous places. It stood for I Want It Now. A bit obsessive to say the least.

The distinction in Marshall’s view of this habit is the need to do whatever it takes to win all the time.

Break the Bad Habit: Not every battle is worth winning. In fact, many times it’s better for the overall relationship to let the other person be in the spotlight. I’ll even go a step further to say, if you want to truly uplevel the way you’re perceived as a leader, find a way to empower your people to take you across the finish line. This change in your behavior will pay huge dividends in the productivity as well as the mood of the organizational environment.


2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our 2 cents to every discussion.

You know people with this habit all too well.  As soon as you get into a discussion with them, your first thought is to seek out the waiter and scream “check please!” How can I end this convo asap.

In my experience, the person who is obsessed with adding too much value, telling us how much they know about a particular topic or situation, often times has underlying needs that are not being met.

What’s the payoff for you to one up everyone that ventures on your path?

Break the Bad Habit: Nobody is interested in you until you show you’re seriously interested in them. The next person you communicate with, I want you to challenge your ego and get immersed in their world. What are their thoughts? How are they feeling around the topic? What can you learn from them?


3. Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.

We’ve all judged others at one or more times in our lives. Some of us judge on a daily basis.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is above anyone else. We’ve all made mistakes and usually for very good reasons. How does the saying go? People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

If you’re the leader and you pass judgement on others, what behavior are you modeling for your team? You’re sending a message to your followers that they need to be perfect. Who wants to follow that?

Break the Bad Habit: In Jim Collins book “Good To Great,” he discovered the highest performing leaders leading the best companies were passionate about their mission, vulnerable, and humble. Surprising, yes?

It’s true.

Instead of judging and criticizing others for their faults, model the way for followers by showing who you are: the good and not so good.

Why would you want to do that?

By showing you’re not perfect, you’re sending the message to your team you’re a human being with strengths as well as blemishes. Your new behavior will energize followers to do more than the minimum, which they’re doing now.

Secondly, be humble. Let your team know you don’t have all the answers. You need their help to realize the organizations goals. The next time they hit a wall as it relates to a goal, they’ll find a way to hop over it, go around it, or blast a whole right through it. Why? They want to do it for you, their humble leader.


4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us witty.

There was a guy in my youth, let’s call him Harry, who treated everyone else like a second class citizen. He made fun of anyone and everyone. If you looked up the word -sarcasm- in the dictionary there was a pic of Harry.

Everyone played along with Harry’s behavior for a number of reasons. He had a very strong personality. He was relentless with his destructive comments and would keep coming at you if you decided to volley with him. So you were better off to laugh it off and simply play along. Last, he had pull with the boss who was his relative. Nepotism 101 at it’s best.

Nobody liked Harry. Nobody respected Harry. Nobody enjoyed being around Harry. Harry’s charter in life, at that time, was to inflict hurt, demean, and ridicule.

The funny thing is, Harry hadn’t a clue in how he was showing up.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of humor. In fact I weave humor into all areas of my personal and professional life. It’s a part of who I am.

Joking with colleagues is a great way to add levity to a situation and build camaradarie.

Break the Bad Habit: The underlying premise of the ICF Code of Ethics is do no harm. When it comes to the client, treat them with the utmost respect and always have their best intentions in mind.

I challenge you to come up with your own personal code of ethics. What is your purpose with each communication? What do you want to be known for? How do you want people to feel when they’re in your presence? Who do you want to become as a leader in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead?

Let’s face it, you’ve had these bad habits for a long time and you’ve gotten really good at acting this way. You can’t expect a total makeover over night. Change is difficult.

Change only happens when you see things differently.

Change happens when you’re intentional about it.

Start with one behavior and chip away at it each and every day.

Good luck in changing your behavior.

Feel free to reach out to me if I can be of help to your organization.

Next week we’ll tackle another chunk of Marshall Goldsmith’s 20 bad habits you need to stop doing now.

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