If there is one thing I hate in life it is waste! My mother always told me not to waste food and being a good son from a strict Italian family, I ate everything on my plate. I hate seeing photocopies being made, only to get chucked without being read. I hate seeing guys at the gym use a half of tube of toothpaste, only to have half of it drip down their chin without ever touching one of their teeth.
More so, I hate to see good people waste away their life and only achieve a sliver of the career and personal success they are capable of achieving because of some trivial thing (or things) they do that have become so ingrained as to become enormous bad habits.
I’ve watched people over the years, and I have noticed that some really good people are only developing to a modicum of their potential because of the following behaviors or scripts they are producing on a daily basis.
Below are three activities you need to stop to become an effective leader:
1. Negative morning thoughts
I have heard it said that everyone brightens a room, some when they enter it, and some when they leave it. Which are you? What do you focus on when you walk into a room? What about when you wake up in the morning? When you are in a new situation? Let me set this up for you?
If your first thought of the day is, “It’s really cold (hot) in here.” I guarantee, you second thought of the day will be, “No wonder I didn’t sleep very well last night.” Followed by, “And I’m kind of sore because of the bad night sleep and how I contorted trying to get comfortable.” From that you can now rationalize that it is going to be a not so hot day at work.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
That traffic is most likely going to be bad heading into work. You’re going to get to work late. Your boss is going to be mad. And that is going to get you mad and your first meeting will be a problem because of how you feel. You may be wishing that you never left your old job, that your boss got that promotion so he or she would be out of your hair and that maybe it is time to dust off that resume and find a place where your skills are truly appreciated. So, think about what happened here. All that negative do-do running around your mind all because you woke up and you had a few goose bumpsor a few drops of sweat.
You have a choice to control your thoughts from the very second you wake up in the morning to the moment of going night-night. Change the scan to a positive one. Such as, “Wow! I feel pretty good this morning.” Or, “I can’t wait to get to work because my first meeting is going to be a blast.” Or make it simple, “Today John and I are having lunch at that new sushi place, that should be great!) See the difference? The first few minutes when you arise are critical to setting the days outlook. Guard your environmental scan very well; control your morning thoughts.
2. Saying yeah, but…
When you say this enough the people that you talk to will soon realize that everything they said, before your “yeah” is meaningless, and everything you say after is what you truly believe. It is degrading and disrespectful. Try saying something like, “That’s an interesting perspective; I never thought of it that way. Tell me, have you ever considered…?”
By phrasing your responses in this type of syntax, you are allowing the person to save face, even if you have a better solution. A “yeah, but…” can make the other person defensive and argumentative, even after they agree with your outcome, so be nice. The nicer you are, the nicer they are.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes
3. Not celebrating after victories
But of course, the rest of the statement is, “Never be victorious enough to celebrate.” I really despise this one. It reeks of self-importance, arrogance and aloofness. As if one person should judge when enough victory is had so that a celebration should occur. In today’s complex and rapidly changing business world, a victory today can turn into a defeat next week. A final decisive victory may never be had. So, let’s never celebrate. Is that what you want to infuse into your corporate culture?
Try instead to celebrate your small wins; your modest victories and your modest gains. Get people in the habit of trying harder because they want to and like the notion of celebration. The people that I have known to use this statement where among the most aloof people in the organization and the least regarded. Most of their employees wanted them to fail. Who wants a reputation like that?