"There is a good chance that tomorrow is going to be just as crazy as today. If you want to change anything about yourself, the best time to start is now. Ask yourself, ‘What am I willing to change now?’ Just do that. That’s more than enough."
Changing long-standing behaviours can be a challenge for anyone. Changing long-standing behaviours can be an even bigger challenge for professionals that view themselves as successful as a direct result of their behaviour. In his New York Times Bestseller What Got You Here Wont Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith tackles twenty workplace habits that are hindering our ability to get to the next level in our professional development.
Goldsmith brings together real world case examples and insights from his illustrious career as an executive coach. Over the past 50 years he has worked closely with CEO’s, budding young talent and executive teams in major companies around the world and has gathered together here some of the worst offenders in terms of workplace habits that are holding us back.
The Power of Gratitude
"Thanking works because it expresses one of our most basic emotions: gratitude. Gratitude is not an abstraction. It is a genuine emotion, which cannot be expected or exacted. You either feel it or you don’t. But when someone does something nice for you, they expect gratitude – and they think less of you for withholding it."
One of the 20 habits that could be holding you back from getting to the next level in your professional life and your interpersonal interactions is the failure to express gratitude. Goldsmith talks about how showing gratitude gives our interpersonal interactions closure and how the simple words “thank you” can have a huge impact on our professional and personal relationships and how others view us.
Seems simple, right? Say thank you more and let others know they are appreciated. But sadly a lot of people who have the potential to become great leaders are lacking this interpersonal skill that would help to take them to the next level of leadership.
Recognition is the first step. Is this as an area that you could improve upon? If it is, it’s important to hold yourself accountable. One key thought from the book that stuck with me was this sense of accountability for a particular habit we want to change. When you hold yourself accountable or ask for a colleague or a loved one to hold you accountable you will make leaps and bounds into improving upon the behaviour you wish to change.
Just say “Thank you”
"Has this ever happened to you? You are at a party. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. You see a female neighbor wearing a stunning dress. You tell her, ‘You look great, Barbara. That’s a gorgeous dress.’ Instead of saying thank you, she turns into a flustered schoolgirl. ‘Oh this old thing?’ she says. ‘It’s just some rag I found in the closet.’ You tune out… Of course she doesn’t mean it harshly. But that’s the chilling effect of not saying thank you. You create a problem where none should exist."
Two simple words can make all the difference in maintaining strong interpersonal relationships with colleagues, loved ones and those we encounter as we move through life: thank you.
Hold yourself accountable. Stop before you speak and ask yourself: is what I’m saying going to add any value to this conversation? Is what I am about to say going to hurt the other person? We all need to learn to express gratitude and allow ourselves to receive compliments we are paid. Just say thank you!
Make a conscious effort to give recognition where it is due
"But there is a difference between being an achiever and a leader. Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others."
Shift your focus to look at those around you who helped you achieve your success. Think in the last week, the last month or the last year of the people who helped you get to where you are today and make a list. Then practice the art of gratitude and give them recognition for the part they have played in your success. A small note of thanks goes a long way.
Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There is a wealth of knowledge that will help anyone who wants to become a truly great leader and change bad leadership habits that we can all fall victim to. His insights will help you to pinpoint the interpersonal habits that may be holding you back from reaching your full potential. This knowledge is delivered in an easy to read and apply format with lots of real world examples from his experience as an executive coach. We all have room for improvement. How do you plan to challenge yourself, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone of daily interactions? Instead of staying settled in our ways that have brought us to where we are now, this book begs the question of what deep seeded habits are you willing to change to push yourself to the next level if it meant you would become an inspiring and empowering leader?