Leadership Development: 10 Things to Give Up

07 May 2020

Developing as a Leader: 10 Negative Things to Give Up

This fantastic graphic was recently posted on Zig Ziglar’s Facebook page (credit to the author). The list reminded me of many of the Coaching Outcomes that my Executive Coaching clients are seeking to impact in the leadership, with their team and in their lives.

While each of the ’10 Things to Give Up’ could fall into the realm of personal development, the impact of these behaviours on leadership, team and culture is profound.

  1. Excuses. Excuses for any form of behaviour prevent us from taking ownership, being responsible and moving forward with action. Maintaining an excuse for a poor performance or mistake creates a lack of trust from the people around you, and creates a mindset that makes the behaviour more likely to happen again.
  2. Self Doubt. This could be the lead title to several of the other items in the list. With leaders, this can be seen with excessive use of meetings and group discussions to arrive at decisions, an overwhelming desire to create consensus within a group, and endless looking back over ‘what if’. Self doubt can not only result in lost opportunities, but increased questions and scrutiny from (an often well-meaning) team, reinforcing self-doubt.
  3. Fear of Failure. One of the behaviours listed that can fall into a ‘pattern’. Fear of failure sounds like it could be a driving force, encouraging a leader to do more, be more, achieve more. When focussed on moving forward, the behaviours can be positive. Fear of failure is more sinister than that, crippling a leaders drive, fearing a misstep or a mistake will impact their credibility, integrity, leadership or legacy. The huge concern about impacting one of those values can prevent a leader from taking action when needed.
  4. Procrastination. In my opinion, this is one of the most pervasive and wide-spread of the behaviours to give up. Not wanting to start a task, avoiding the important tasks, wasting time on little things rather than higher priorities – while not often spoken of, this behaviour is widespread and corrosive. Not having clear routines, not creating a To-Do List, avoiding a To-Do list and not prioritising your work are key behaviours of procrastination.
  5. People Pleasing. We all know someone (and I am sure many of us have been someone) who doesn’t know how to say ‘No’. But this behaviour can be more than a lack of assertiveness and willingness to please others. An over-inflated sense of responsibility, need for everything to be perfect and a desire to maintain team harmony can all drive this exhausting behaviour.
  6. Fear of Success. Many leaders don’t understand this fear – ‘Why would I not want to be successful?’. The opposite side of the same coin is the pattern behaviour, fear of failure. If someone’s ‘pattern’ or thoughts they consistently tell themselves (because of history, experience etc) is that they don’t deserve success or have never had success, then when it comes it is going to feel unnatural and out of place. While logically it doesn’t make sense (even to the people that have this fear), leaders can create behaviours that inhibit success to feel more comfortable ie. You could win a work proposal worth $$$ if you submit it – but you wait and delay submission past the due date. If failure is a pattern you are used to, this kind of behaviour can seek to maintain the pattern.
  7. Negative Thinking. When the negative thoughts outweigh the positive, it can lead to the Other Things To Give Up, such as the fears of success and failure and self-doubt. Negative thinking refuses to see the positive alternative to a decision and highlights the down side. When teams expect leaders to problem solve, be creative and show the way, negative thinking can stifle even the most driven and positive followers.
  8. Negative Self-Talk. This is that ‘little devil’ voice that whispers negative thoughts into you ear – do you have one of those? This is negative thinking on repeat, focussed on what you personally can’t achieve. The mind of a leader is a powerful thing, and negative thinking can be reinforced through negative emotions and behaviours. A vicious spiral.
  9. Judgement of Yourself and Others. Judging yourself harshly can lead to shame – a negative spiral where you ‘beat yourself up’ for things that have gone wrong or didn’t go your way. Rather than take action to improve and change, shame assumes that chastising yourself is action. Judging others can lead to a lack of tolerance and understanding of intentions and behaviours – the grace that we can often give ourselves when we have made a mistake.
  10. Negative people in your circle. It is incredibly hard to stay positive and motivated when you are surrounded by negative people. Have enough negative people in your team or business, and you have a negative culture that can be hard to shake.

Which of the ’10 Things to Give Up’ do you need to give up? What impact would it have on you, your leadership, your team, your business, your culture and your bottom line?

If one or more of the 10 Things To Give Up is impacting you and your leadership, get in touch with us via email or phone to discuss how we can work with you to work through them, create strategies, processes and routines to avoid them and surround yourself with people that will help you through them.