Heidi Grant Halvorson is a PhD, Associate Director of Columbia Business School’s Motivation Science Center and author of No One Understands You and What To Do About It.
Are you self-sabotaging at work? 18 Tips to Learn to improve your work performance and climb up the corporate ladder
We all have a dream of outperforming ourselves at work and staying consistent and moving up in our career. However, we have difficulties bringing our wishes and expectations to life. Furthermore, in the fast and highly competitive corporate world, some of our attitudes, assumptions, values, flaws often render us completely ineffective, come in the way of us being the best version of ourselves, from learning new skills, from developing our talents.
The reality is that, despite our best intentions, we are often our worst enemies, are unable to improve our career, to achieve our definition of success, to satisfy our higher purpose. We thereby harbor dissatisfaction, self-defeating thoughts and resort to self-sabotaging actions.
Wondering how to become a better performer, a better contributor, a better leader in the workplace and control the self-sabotaging tendencies?
Most of the time, self-sabotage takes roots from collaborators sometimes abusing substance, striving too hard for materialistic success. Self-sabotage also stems from an inability to control extreme negative thoughts and emotions such as anger, guilt or resentment, and an inability to control other people. Indeed, in the workplace, low performing employees and leaders tend to either:
- complain too much about circumstances,
- not take action or initiative,
- doubt their capabilities,
- be addicted to praise,
- struggle to live up to other people expectations. Not pursuing your true purpose and implementing somebody else dream cause you to subconsciously rebel against your current situation.
- act impatient,
- be unable to follow rules or respect authority figure,
- be unable to handle the pressures of responsibility;
- misinterpret the image they have of themselves
- be busy or lack time management skills,
- lack conflict resolution skills,
- fear the unknown,
- fear criticism, looking ridiculous or being embarrassed,
- fear change,
- fear success,
- feel rejected or reject their own being,
- fear failure. Failures are usually blessings in disguise.
How to improve these bad habits and become an effective member of the workforce?
Becoming a better performer and contributor in the workplace doesn’t end at solely executing your duties and providing acceptable results, it also means working on your character and core values. To enable effective performance in the workplace, it is necessary to:
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses and ground them into reality. I cannot stress enough how self-discovery is an important and long life process that allows to:
- upgrade your moral compass and create new ethical standards,
- accept our unique distinctions,
- evaluate your role and contributions at work,
- assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills.
- Understand your interests and abilities. This way you are able to develop your core capabilities, to choose the work that stimulates you the most, the workplace in which you best fit in and the team that complements you the best.
- Keep learning, grow your knowledge and your emotional intelligence that you may increase satisfaction at work, to envision greater possibilities, to overcome obstacles and to be successful in every area of your life by:
- doing something new, something different, challenging your thoughts and your routine,
- nurturing your natural curiosity about the world, about what you don’t know,
- breaking routine and mindless actions to stimulate your imagination,
- tackling your fears and negative emotions head and listing the consequences of your actions.
- Adjust your self-image to reality by writing down:
- the qualities you have about yourself and the ones you want to acquire,
- your trigger points. Don’t let identifying your trigger points to get discouraged and give up on yourself. Noticing your self-sabotaging habits is actually beneficial to you: you are probably not in the walk of life that you wish or supposed to be in.
- Act responsibility, be proactive, take initiative. Take on more responsibility and assignments, perform them with enthusiasm and motivation in order to become confident in your abilities, autonomous, dependable, emotionally mature and trustworthy. Indeed, the more you take on responsibility, the more you learn about yourself, the more you understand the consequences of your actions, the faster you admit your mistakes as soon as you notice them, the better you remain accountable especially when things go wrong, the more you grow, the more you gain competencies, the more you are willing to take initiative and even risks.
- Discipline yourself by inspecting and readjusting your thoughts, actions and behaviors to set standards, and dominating your immediate desires and impulses.
- Stay true to yourself. Avoid comparing yourself to others and competing with others.
- Allow yourself to think. In silence, without looking for distractions, confront yourself, make peace with yourself, strengthen your decision-making skills, observe bad habits, and therefore learn more about yourself, find your true purpose, learn to trust your intuition and inner feelings. Meditation, quiet contemplation, introspection are the key to staying alert, to increase your performance at work, to develop and recognize good ideas, to stay engaged and more conscious of your life.
- Define clear goals and seek better methods to become more productive, more competent in the workplace.
- Learn to insulate yourself from the noise in the workplace.
- Vary your experiences and get out your comfort zone.
- Take care of your physical health. Exercise regularly.
- Make a good impression, from day one, without overdoing it and running a political campaign, by dressing appropriately and being punctual.
- Respect and treat people the way you would like to be respected and treated. Uplift people instead of bringing them down or being considered as a toxic coworker in the workplace. Develop relationships and properly manage people emotions, don’t impose your emotions on others, don’t create enemies where you can have a supportive friend. As a result, you can become a good contributor and a valuable team member.
- Embrace change, renew your coping and self-defense mechanism.
- Expect to make mistakes, to learn from them and keep it moving.
- Avoid naysayers and haters like the plague. Change your circle of friends if they are the ones bringing you down.
- Service others. Servicing others doesn’t mean to submit to everyone and to every order. It means doing your best to get along with one another.
Last word of advice!
If you happen to abuse substance or are in emotional distress in the workplace, don’t be ashamed, you are not alone. Please talk about it to your closest family and friends, or find the nearest Workplace Help Center.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.
A leader without a vision is a leader without a head. A leader without a vision is a wandering leader. A leader without a vision is a rolling stone without a moss.
I have to say, to most, a vision is a dream. To leaders, a vision becomes a set of goals that they create for themselves and for their existing or fictional organization. To successful leaders, a vision is a dream that encompass their values and morals, that seems unrealistic but that is yet anchored in reality, that is ingrained in their DNA and adaptable to their environment.
Wondering why is it important to create a leadership vision and by what measure leaders sustain their vision?
A lot of people have a vision for their life. However, most of them do not pursue it or don’t acknowledge it because it seems unattainable or far-fetched, because they inspire others and not themselves, they are afraid, they are discouraged or they are too busy to look within to act upon their vision.
Nonetheless, people without vision are impotent to perform and remain bitter or frustrated. It is the vision that leads you and propels you forward, that wakes you up in the morning, that gives you purpose, that drive your performance, that is communicated to your employees, that gives meaning to your actions and decisions, and that leans on your belief systems.
Leaders should be pushing a vision for their life, for their family or their organization and it shouldn’t matter whether they have the right relationships, enough money, enough favors, or have hired people with the desired skill set.
The leadership vision has to be intrinsic, greater than the obvious, has to be overwhelming, powerful and so inspiring that it annoys everyone else. It becomes essential to protect that vision and not to let anyone intimidate that vision or impose their vision.
Leaders with a vision are ambitious and satisfied with their lives, become hopeful and optimistic about the future, invite change, select their employees according to their strengths and not their weaknesses, are daring and don’t fear failure, are emotionally invested in their goals, flexible, persistent, resistant to social pressure and are convinced of their future success.
How to create a leadership vision? How to build your vision from the ground up?
First of all, a leadership vision is sometimes born when you are afflicted or when the situation is unbearable.
Keep in mind, a leadership vision does not appear suddenly out of the blue. It takes time and a thorough self-assessment and a proper knowledge of your environment in order to express your vision. A vision is invisible but you have to believe in it, conceive it and hold on to it.
To create a leadership vision, it is therefore fundamental that:
- you get to know yourself by assessing your strengths and weaknesses.
- you define your core values by identifying the most important life events and your reactions to them.
- you set realistic yet demanding goals. Setting goals will allow you to lay out your ideas, to have a direction, to give you the desire to set wheels in motion, to grow and improve, set priorities and measure your progress. There doesn’t need to be a full detailed plan.
- you keep your goal descriptions clear, short and simple, personal, and focused on your character, core values and morals.
- your dreams challenge the status quo, seeks excellence, increase everyone’s purpose and motivation.
- you adapt, stretch or change your dreams through time. Revisiting your dream will allow you to renew your strategy, to navigate difficult situations with a flexible mind and to see beyond obstacles.
How to sustain your leadership vision?
Once you have your vision in place, in order to make it more effective and vivid:
- Revisit your vision from time to time to make sure that it is up to date.
- Write a vision statement for your business to establish lawful and moral guidelines for your employees and for yourself.
- Ground your vision into reality, demonstrate it within the company’s culture, values and directions, products and employees.
- Follow through on your promises and commitments. Invest yourself in insignificant task as much as in important tasks. There is nothing that is below you that should be done with quality and conviction.
- Acquire more character than workplace competencies.
- Remain optimistic throughout challenges in order to motivate your team.
- Regularly communicated your updated vision by crafting stories around your vision. Involve your employees to instill loyalty, commitment, motivation and alignment, to challenge them and to give them purpose. These leaders hire people, transfer their vision to them and bring out the best in them. Don’t force your vision on your team, instead invite them in the process and help them build it up.
- Avoid pleasing the naysayers.
- Encourage others to dream big.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.
According to Brad Lomenick, in H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle., there comes a time in a leader’s life where he or she has to transform, renew and rediscover himself or herself.
Intentionally or not, leaders develop habits throughout their lives, that dictate their approach to work and to the tasks that they accomplish daily, that take their ideas and turn them into concrete results. Habits also shape leaders core values and personalities, behaviors and daily actions. This is why leaders must look at their old leadership habits, invest the time to break bad ones, sustain the good ones, create new ones, and seek to reboot themselves.
It is therefore necessary for leaders to take a decision to implement change within them and within their organization, and for them to be committed to the task.
According to Brad Lomenick, it is foundational for leaders to revisit the motto Humble, Hungry and Hustle. This mantra categorizes 20 core leadership habits and conveys the right philosophy in order to become a catalyst leader and contemporaneous influencer. By being humble, leaders are able to discover who they really are. By staying hungry, leaders are able to figure out their destination. By hustling, leaders search for the best way to reach their destination and goals.
BE HUMBLE: “Who am I?”
Leaders, at the beginning of their transformation, have to develop habits of self-discovery, of openness, meekness, conviction, faith and assignment.
- A Habit of Self-Discovery: Know who you are. Creating a habit of self discovery signifies that the leader has to purposefully and continually observe, listen, understand and define who he or she is. Self discovery is a never-ending process. Most leaders identify deeply with their organization and tend to lose their sense of self. However, they must learn to connect with the organization without merging with it or without changing themself into something else, without creating an illusion of self that will crumble at the first obstacle. They must know their strengths, weaknesses and values in order to succeed. Their scale of influence will reflect their level of self assessment. Furthermore, it takes courage to present the true self to the world and bravery to resist the factors that shape us and impose themselves on us.
- A Habit of Openness: Share the real you with others. Leaders must learn to be open and vulnerable with their followers and with those closest to them even though the higher they are on the “ladder of influence and power, the more difficult it is to be open”. Leaders must keep it real and be authentic: they show who they really are with they followers, they don’t hide their weaknesses nor their emotions, and they know what to do with what they have discovered about themselves. Leaders evaluate their value of connectedness, create deep relationships, are skilled communicators, answer dreaded and difficult questions if they can trust their interlocutor, know how to apologize to those that they have wronged or hurt, have a confidant outside of work that they can rely on and lean on for tough decision. Leaders are also transparent and can admit when they make a mistake. Of course not everything should be disclosed and not with everyone and less should be discussed the more the circle of influence increases.
- A Habit of Meekness: Remember it’s not about you. Developing a habit of meekness leads to quiet confidence, avoid leaders from becoming arrogant and from turning inward while on the path of self discovery. Indeed, the company culture should not revolve around the leaders, should not seek the leaders approval and should not suffer from their absence.
- A Habit of Conviction: Know your principles, stick to them and live out your convictions. Leaders must have conviction, integrity, strong values, strong moral compass, protect their reputation, and stand up for what they believe in, for what us right and against what is wrong.
- A Habit of Faith: Prioritize your day so God is first. Taking the habit of putting God first allows to visualize the bigger picture, to stop worrying about the future, to ignore what people are saying, to fulfill a higher purpose, to remain grateful towards God. Leaders are able to gain spiritual discipline and grow spirituality by speaking and mostly listening to God on a daily basis.
- A Habit of Assignment. Pursue your purpose. Leaders must learn to their innate proclivities to accomplish their assignments and live out a higher calling.
STAY HUNGRY: “Where do I want to go?”
- A Habit of Ambition: Develop an appetite for what’s next. Ambition is mist often seen in a negative light and is always associated to a negative adjective. However, ambition is what pushes leaders forward and gives them the will to do better. Leaders have to be careful of how they feed their ambition appetite in order to cultivate healthy work relationships and to fuel other healthy habits.
- A Habit of Curiosity: Keep learning. Leaders have to listen more than they speak and ask probing questions.
- A Habit of Passion: Love what you do. Passions bond people together, create memories, sustain long-term enthusiasm and zeal. It is up to the leader to fuel his or her engaged and feed his or her enthusiasm to the organization.
- A Habit of Innovation: Stay current, creative, and engaged. Leadership requires innovation, pushes for change and doesn’t need a title nor an official position to initiate change. Rather it necessitates courage, steadfastness through failures, stamina and an environment for change. Leaders must challenge the status quo, refuse to coast and build habits of exploring new ideas.
- A Habit of Inspiration: Nurture a vision for a better tomorrow. Leaders look to the future and hope for a better tomorrow, have a vision for the future that makes work life more enjoyable, motivational, learn to communicate their vision and persuade the crowd.
- A Habit of Bravery: Take calculated risks. Leaders confront their fears and push through them, get out their comfort zone and are never comfortable in one position.
HUSTLE: “How will I get there?”
- A Habit of Excellence: Set standards that scare you. Leaders must thrive to be the best at what they do and to produce the best effort in order to succeed.
- A Habit of Stick-with-it-ness: Take the long view. Success in life requires preparation. Leaders have to resist current movements of instant and uncommon success stories, the pressure to innovate and continually create better and innovative products. Instead, they have to discipline themselves, learn to be faithful, learn to be grateful and to discern what is important in order to build their legacy.
- A Habit of Execution: Commit to completion. Leaders translate their ideas into action, enjoy bringing their actions to fruition, make an effort to deliver the best product without slacking off or slowing down.
- A Habit of Team Building: Create an environment that attracts and retains the best and brightest. Leaders must invest in their employees, motivate and stimulate them, show appreciation and help them create good relationships with one another. In addition, because culture building cannot be delegated, leaders must take it upon themselves to create a pleasant work environment for their team, generate positive memories and experiences with their team.
- A Habit of Partnership: Collaborate with colleagues and competitors to generate a higher revenue or to pursue a higher purpose. Partners bring new perspectives, new improvements to your organization, a new set of skills and competencies. Forging alliances requires strategy, intention, thoughtfulness, time and energy. However, forming relationships with other leaders and partnerships with other organizations is essential, especially when climbing up the ladder.
- A Habit of Margin: Nurture healthier rhythms. Leaders must learn to manage their time effectively, to unwind and reset their batteries in order to be more effective.
- A Habit of Generosity: Leave the world a better place. Leaders are generous with their time and energy and not only their money. They help others become successful and give without expecting anything in return.
- A Habit of Succession: Find power in passing the baton. Leaders have to learn his to let go and continue their legacy by finding their succession.
H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle., by Brad Lomenick, is a compelling and insightful self-development book where Brad Lomenick recaps his professional experiences at Catalyst, draw conclusions from his leadership style and allies spirituality with leadership.
Throughout his entire book, Lomenick shares numerous tips on how to become a better leader. He also references several of his peers such as John Maxwell, Stephen Coven and Laura Vanderkam, and divulges alternate leadership tips.
In my opinion, there are two major take-aways from this book:
- firstly, in order to lead others you have to figure out who you are first. Indeed, people tend to follow you, your personality, your values instead of following your job. Furthermore, you cannot tell others how to behave in certain situations and which route to take if you don’t know which one you would take yourself. Some would say to lead others, first lead yourself.
- Secondly, in the morning, before checking your emails or drinking coffee, develop a habit of seeking God first.
But leadership is more than hard work; its habitual work.
In my experience too few leaders recognize the importance of habits in life. One researcher at Duke University, for example, found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.1 When you rise in the morning, nearly half of your day will be determined by the patterns you’ve either intentionally created or passively allowed.
Your sense of identity will help determine your scale of influence. Ignore it at your own peril.
Know your own strengths, limitations, and values. Have relational transparency and genuineness. This involves being honest and straightforward, and not playing games or having a hidden agenda. Be fair-minded and do the right thing. Effective leaders solicit opposing viewpoints and consider all options before choosing a course of action. They’re open to the fact that they “may be wrong” and someone else may have the best idea. A true leader has an ethical core and knows the right thing to do.
Leaders must make honesty and trust the standard for their organizational culture.
Never satisfied, but always content is the posture of a properly ambitious leader.
The best leaders are people of integrity and principle who know the difference between principles and preferences. They are willing to stand up for the right things and stand against the wrong things. These leaders value their reputations, their consciences, and their values.
The corporate world is full of challenges that can drive you insane, possibly drain your from your energy, fill you with negative and self-defeating thoughts.
It becomes critical to be able to insulate yourself from negativity, to lead yourself successfully, to stay in the moment and to instantly create peace of mind.
Wondering how to create peace of mind instantly in challenging situations?
Reacting to others and to circumstances, fighting to fix turbulence, or resolve the status quo, inhibits us from living in the moment and from serenity, from taking positive and constructive actions towards our objectives and true purpose.
Learning to choose peace of mind requires that we acquire new healthy habits and that we question our thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.
To remain peaceful, remember that:
- You can control your mental activity: ou can ignite ou thoughts, modify them, shut them down, exaggerate them.
- You are not entirely defined by your thoughts.
- You are not bothered about what people think of you.
- It makes no sense to grieve about the past and worry about the future because neither past or the future actually represents reality.
- Peace of mind is a way of life and is a conscious choice.
- Peace of mind is applicable to every aspect of our lives and is perennial.
Regulating your thought patterns at work allows you to avoid burnout, to reduce negative experiences and behaviors, to be proactive, to not experience heightened flight or fight responses.
To maintain sanity in challenging situations and to create immediate peace of mind:
- Concentrate on being in the moment. Focus on the conversation, on your senses and surroundings.
- Be aware of your reactions and observe the emotions that you go through.
- Search for the best reactions and answers to a situation.
- In the long haul, drop negative memories in order to let go of the past and to be your best self.
- Stop all activity. Take a time out and breathe them return to work.
- Look at the situation from different perspectives and learn something new about yourself and others. Experience life in an unlimited fashion.
- Take regular breaks at work to keep your mind and body relaxed and to prevent burnouts.
- Break the cycle of bad behavior.
- Actively listen to others instead of thinking about your unaccomplishd goals, of judging others and yourself.
- Smile. Smiling changes the chemistry of the body and creates an illusion that everything is fine.
- Listen to soothing sounds and music.
- Take a walk before responding yo a stressful situation.
- Take a nap to refresh and clear your mind.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.