Stop it! You Are Sabotaging Your Success
There are gestures and behaviours that can be undermining your brand success and holding you back. The kicker is you don’t even know it!
It can feel a bit like driving your car with the emergency brake on. You notice your car has no pickup and can’t really figure out why. Until you notice the emergency brake is engaged, you release it and without any extra effort you pick up speed.
It works much the same way when you stop repeating the ‘bad habits’ that don’t support you or your brand.
For instance, my oldest son pointed out that when I am doing my best to remain neutral on a topic we are discussing he instantly knows when I don’t agree. He said I always tilt my head to the left. My youngest son backed him up. I had no idea I was giving myself away!
A leader that I worked with was complaining about his boss’ unreasonable requests and at the same time, he was rolling his eyes. When he was done sharing his story I asked, “Are you aware you were rolling your eyes while telling me your story?” He wasn’t! Can you imagine the impression that left with his boss?
To stop ‘bad habits’ it is important to know what they are and get the constructive feedback you need to empower change. Below are the five most common ‘bad habits’ I see leaders engage in that damages their brand and undermines their ability to succeed with ease.
As you read the list you may find yourself saying, “not me,” in that case, I encourage you to rate yourself on a scale from zero to ten. Zero meaning ‘I never do that’ and ten meaning ‘OMG, I do that all the time.” The rating will heighten your awareness and reveal where you can improve.
Five Most Common Bad Habits
#1 COMPLAININGComplaining is negative, a waste of time and an energy drain. You tend to complain when your current circumstance doesn’t match your expectation. This means you have a reference point of how it could be, although you fall into the bad habit of complaining instead of risking what you need to do to make it better. Ouch! Stop it!
New Habit: Lead by making the changes you want to see and talk to the right people – the ones that can influence the change!
As you see in the example above, instead of rolling his eyes and talking about the unreasonable requests with colleagues that can’t influence change, it is important to muster up the courage and have the conversation with the boss.
Approach your boss, acknowledge the request, then ask for his/her advice on how to best balance your time between the new priority and the other projects/tasks. It is your responsibility to create the link and don’t assume your boss knows. Taking this action helps you stand out and demonstrates your strength as a leader.
#2 MAKING ASSUMPTIONSDrawing conclusions about what others think, what they need or how they feel based on your experience can be dangerous. Whether it is people on your team, clients, peers or even family members. As kids, if we fell into this trap my dad made his point by saying, “When you assume you make an ass out of you AND me.” Not a pretty picture. Stop it!
New Habit: Lead by checking in regularly with the people you interact with to confirm you are all on the same page. One client shared with me the great wins she and her team were experiencing and she spoke about how happy everyone on the team was even though they needed to put in extra hours.
It was clear that the leader was pleased the team pulled together to create the wins and it felt great. It wasn’t clear how everyone on the team really felt about the workload and hours. She was assuming the wins outweighed the effort it took to get there.
Give others a voice and show how much you care by asking how they are managing or what you can do to make their experience better. You will automatically increase your ability to influence. This is a definite boost for your brand!
#3 MAKING EXCUSESExcuses are like telling little white lies because you are not prepared to tell the truth, to yourself or others. Excuses demonstrate to others that you are not reliable and can undermine your credibility. Stop it!
New Habit: Lead by owning up to your part in not delivering what you promised and focus on what you are going to do to make it right. If I have a commitment to meet with a client and I arrive late because I chose to answer a call before I left the office, it’s on me. I would begin by apologizing for being late and make it up by giving my client extra time instead of excusing my poor choice.
Taking ownership of your behaviour is much more powerful than any excuse you come up with.
People don’t care why; they want to know how you are going to make it right. This action builds your brand’s credibility.
#4 COMPARINGIt is so easy in a competitive environment to get distracted by what others are doing around you and fall into the ‘me too’ trap. You begin to question yourself and if you are doing the right things. Comparing is a dangerous game and one you can never win. It is important to know what your competition is up to ~ but don’t use that as your measure. It can derail you and your brand. Stop it!
New Habit: Lead by using yourself as the benchmark. Measure the results you get with what you have done before. This gives you a clear indication if you are following what is important to you and if you are truly making progress. Whether it is meeting an exercise goal, a profit goal, a sales goal or presenting to a client. Did you do your best? Were your results better than they were last time? This becomes your measure of progress and success. When you compare yourself to others you are giving your power away and begin to measure what you do by their standards, not yours. It is always a choice. You want to ensure your choices support you and boost your brand power.
#5 INTERRUPTINGInterrupting is annoying and demonstrates a lack of respect. You may find that you jump in when someone else is talking and explain it away by stating that you were excited to share an idea or ask a question before you forgot. These are excuses disguised as reasons to justify your bad behaviour. It is rude and not how you want to be remembered. Stop it!
New Habit: Lead by being more intentional about the part you play in each conversation you have. Listen to understand the person who is speaking. When you engage at this level you are more likely to stay focused on what is being said versus what you want to say. If an idea or question pops into your mind, write it down and ask when the person talking has finished. This demonstrates respect and that you really were listening and is a much more effective way to build the brand you desire.
It is easy to fall into these traps and we all do. What is crucial to your brand success is how regularly you engage in these ‘bad habits’.
By the way, how did you score? In this case the lower the better!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?Start by choosing the one area that you rated the highest and work to replace it with the brand impression you want to create. If you most easily fall into the trap of interrupting, think about what you would be doing if you weren’t interrupting. Show up with that intention. Repeat it until you have it mastered then move on to the next habit you want to improve.
Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!
Are you interested in having a conversation to explore how you can define your personal brand and accelerate your growth as a leader, individually or as a team? Send an e-mail to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation.