The Point: While there are a gluttony of behaviors/actions you should be doing as a leader, we thought it would be interesting to take a typical Tip of the Spear contrarian view of what you should STOP doing as a leader. As such, the following seven (7) part series was developed based on executive coaching conversations had with leaders. In reviewing these leadership behaviors/actions, see if you see a little bit of yourself in the examples provided (No doubt you know several leaders besides yourself guilty)… Enjoy!
Meet Barbara… She’s Great (Just Ask Her!)
Barbara was a high-potential (HiPo) in-training leader for an Inc5000 organization that was pegged to be a future leader within the organization. There was only one thing standing between Barbara and that coveted leadership position… Barbara! Here’s what she does that drives people crazy…
No One Pats Themselves On The Back Like She Does!
Now don’t for a minute think that Barbara wasn’t a hard worker, or that her work wasn’t very smart in nature. Quite the contrary… She was ideal when it came to her annual reviews. In her organization’s leadership development program she graduated in the top 10% of candidates. What was far from ideal though was her ability to self-appreciate her own abilities. In other words, Barbara was great at taking the praise for all of her/her team’s accomplishments. Worse yet was what she had to say about others…
Barbara’s Logic: Me=Good | Them=Stupid
While Barbara’s stakeholders recognized her as the productive workhorse that she was, they also recognized a decidedly ugly “chink” in the chain that comprised her makeup. Namely, after she would get done giving herself credit she would often go on long tirades about the inadequacy of those that did not participate at such a high level. In other words, Barbara was calling others stupid.
This trait of “calling it like it is” typically caused those around Barbara at such moments to cringe. It wasn’t enough that the job was done, (and done well), but the lamenting on how others were not up to her ability, couldn’t hold a candle to her work ethic/performance, and just were plain old stupid pointed to her immaturity as a leader. Questions were raised amongst leadership regarding are we spending money on leadership development and executive coaching on the right person? (Never a good question to have raised, especially for someone being considered a future leader, and HiPo nonetheless!)
So in this post we covered that leaders should let their work product do their talking. And in talking, because the opportunities will present themselves, there isn’t a need to constantly praise yourself nor put down/call others stupid.
So whatever happened to Barbara? After one successful project she once again went on a self-promoting publicity tour, accompanied by the typical deprecation of others (i.e., Calling them stupid). Unfortunately for Barbara, the party in question called stupid was a superior in the organization, and they overheard of their stupidity (One that heretofore was in her corner, and one of her biggest supporters!) As you can imagine, support was replaced by destruction, and everything Barbara had worked for at the organization that was good turned bad in a matter of a few days. Two weeks later… Barbara was given the opportunity to go be successful somewhere else!
PS – You may also enjoy some of the other recent posts I wrote:
- The Leadership Challenge: Saying “Thank You”
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Mindful?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Better Off Lucky Than Good?
- The Leadership Challenge: Can You Drive the Development of Leaders Who Transform Your Business?
- What’s Inside Your Leadership Time Capsule?
- The Leadership Challenge: 10 Characteristics to Develop Your Executive Presence
- The Leadership Challenge: Happy New Year! Now What?
- Leadership Amnesia: Should You Forget the Past to Move Forward to a Better Future?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are Your SMART Goals DUMB?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Climbing the Leadership Mountain?
- The Leadership Challenge: They Want You To Fail! 8 Leadership Tips to Overcome Failure
- The Leadership Challenge: Do You Exercise Your Moral Muscle?
- The Leadership Challenge: Conducting Post-Mortem Reviews
Sam Palazzolo is the Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, and Communication Skills Training for Leaders.