Monday, 21 July 2014 14:31

What’s holding you back?

Some people tick all the boxes. They have all the intelligence, education, skill and experience they need. Their colleagues enjoy working with them and their teams are happy high performers.

Some people tick some of the boxes. They’re smart, skilled and experienced. But they behave in ways that make them difficult to work with or work for. Maybe they always need to have the last word, or they don’t listen, or are given to outbursts of anger. Some don’t take responsibility, or ever apologise.

Sometimes our flaws are mere quirky eccentricities that lend us character: sometimes they’re annoying habits that people around us learn to tolerate. But they often get in the way of careers and relationships and it’s hard to find successful people who exhibit very many of them.

In the senior levels of any organisation, everyone is smart and technically skilled. It’s your people skills; the way you interact and communicate with your employees, colleagues and senior managers, that determine whether you will be a high flier or an also-ran. You’re probably only too aware of the annoying habits of your coworkers, but few of us are similarly aware of our own flaws; and until you are, you won’t be able to change.

See if you recognise any of your co-workers in the descriptions below.

1. Always needs to win: to be first, to put forward better ideas, to have his or her arguments win the day.
2. Doesn’t listen.
3. Finds fault or objects to any idea put forward by someone else.
4. Doesn’t communicate properly because he or she is distracted and disorganized.
5. Remembered more for temper tantrums than for calm collected behaviour.
6. Puts others down with sarcastic, hurtful comments.
7. Clings to the past with comments like ‘When I was…’ or ‘I used to…’ or ‘I can remember when…’
8. Opinionated and right about everything.
9. Criticises easily but rarely gives praise for things done well.
10. Tends to take credit for work done by others.
11. TMI: Too Much Information. Loses the plot in the detail.
12. Perfectionist style is hard to work with.
13. Quick to offer excuses when things go wrong.
14. Excuses his or her behaviour with, ‘I can’t help it; that’s just me’.
15. Hardly ever apologises, even when in the wrong.
16. Vents wrath on the bringers of bad news.
17. Blames others for his or her mistakes.
18. Allows personal stress to create collateral damage to others.

Now consider whether any of these behaviours might be holding you back.

If you’d like help in improving leadership skills or building more successful relationships, contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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