14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

New leaders get into leadership positions by demonstrating greater skills, higher levels of emotional intelligence, better expertise than the teams they were in.

However, for new leaders, mistakes are common and quasi inevitable.

Mistakes show you what you are made of, what you need to succeed, what you need to redirect your career, what you are missing to improve your character.

Wondering what are the common mistakes to avoid as a new leader?

Mistakes don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when they come to light rather than going unnoticed.

When mistakes are made, it makes sense for us to focus on what we have done right, on our strengths rather than our weaknesses.

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

14 Common Mistakes That New Leaders Make

#1. New leaders ego-trip

Some new leaders want to bring attention to themselves, to demonstrate their self-importance and their superiority.

They usually overstep their boundaries, put down their “subordinates” and come off as arrogant. It is safe to say that:

  • They lack self-confidence and self-awareness.
  • Their ego is fragile. They surround themselves with yes men and people who strike their ego.
  • They are entitled to their position and don’t understand that the position requires work and humility.

#2. New leaders power-trip

Leaders who power-trip lack humility and self-discipline.

They use their new position to impose their authority, to remind their “subordinates” that they have power over them and to exact revenge on coworkers that they didn’t like.

Needless to say, power tripping can damage trust and workplace morale.

#3. New leaders don’t deal with their imposter syndrome

New leaders let their imposter syndrome sabotage their efforts.

Leaders with imposter syndrome don’t believe that they are due to their position, don’t believe that they have succeeded thanks to their gifts.

Some of them are insecure, tend to feel like frauds and are afraid of being unmasked.

Some are overzealous. They want to do things their way, be the catalysts of change, challenge the status quo almost immediately.

Some overwork, they show off their skills and try to prove themselves.

Others expect perfection and not excellence.

#4. New leaders don’t know who they are

New leaders are generally unaware of who they are, how they are seen, how they should contribute and of what they now represent.

That is because new leaders:

#5. New leaders don’t update their mindset

Becoming a leader is a long and never-ending process.

However, new leaders have to quickly update their mindset to keep up with their teams.

They have to change their focus from frontliner to strategist, to doing from ordering, to performing a task to planning meetings.

Firstly, they must make a pact with themselves to grow and to improve.

Secondly, they must constantly monitor their words, attitudes and actions.

#6. New leaders don’t understand the requirements of their position

Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. New to their roles, most leaders:

  • Don’t grasp that being a boss, being a manager and being a leader are different.
  • Think “position” automatically implies “authority”.
  • Don’t understand their job description.
  • Don’t fully understand or commit to their role.
  • Fail to see the bigger picture.
  • Get overwhelmed by their positions.
Leadership is not about the title or the position. It is about character, attitude and influence. - Vanessa Sylvester Click To Tweet

#7. New leaders stop learning

Even though new leaders think that they can handle their position with their old skills and their old knowledge, most of them don’t have the necessary skills to be a leader.

New leaders face new responsibilities that they don’t have the skills for and :

  • Are too afraid to ask questions and to ask for help.
  • Take too long before initiating leadership training.
  • Have to learn new skills quickly, autonomously, and most importantly apply them.

#8. New leaders stick to traditional leadership styles

Autocratic and commanding leadership styles, though common and easy, are outdated, are rigid, and don’t work anymore, especially with millennials.

People are more comfortable and are able to perform at their best with a democratic leadership style.

Today, millennials expect validation, recognition, rewards, a more deconstructed workplace that is fun, relaxed, motivational yet productive and structured.

They want to understand their role, the impact of their contributions at work, to be involved in the decision-making process, to learn continually and to own their work.

#9. New leaders don’t cater to their past and present relationships

Some leaders stop valuing people, start ignoring their teams and their past relationships. Instead, they tend to:

  • Disconnect from their teams. For instance, they don’t listen to their team and don’t measure their words.
  • Avoid conversations, small talk and nurturing new relationships.
  • Avoid collaboration and do everything themselves.
  • Focus on the results.

Leaders who don’t focus on people are seen to be snobs, insensitive, inattentive.

Dismissing relationships can easily create misunderstandings and conflicts because people have no barometer to measure your intentions, speech or behavior.

#10. New leaders run away from conflicts

New leaders aim to please at first. They sugarcoat, don’t address awkward dynamics, avoid conflicts, run away from difficult conversations, want to be liked and not respected.

They don’t speak up when they have to. For example, they don’t communicate expectations don’t correct employee mistakes when they have to, are no longer transparent because they are afraid of judgement and of losing their position.

In addition, they comply too often because they are not confident about their abilities.

Even if it is sometimes wise to avoid conflict, this strategy is not sustainable.

#11. New leaders shut down dissenting voices

New leaders must get comfortable with people who cause dissent even though the latter are natural catalysts, and easily take risks.

Dissenting voices within the organization usually have a bad reputation.

They are not welcomed in groups, go against the grain, are seen as not playing by the rules, are stifled, are the ones that end up being fired.

#12. New leaders don’t delegate

At entry level, we want to control people, do everything ourselves, be on top of everything all at once and find it hard to delegate.

Some leaders don’t know how to delegate, don’t want to delegate or just find it plain hard to do so. Indeed, it is a hard task because it requires that they:

  • Give instructions to their employees.
  • Have faith in the workers, be comfortable depending on others and believe that the work will be up to standards.
  • Have confidence in their personal abilities and do not be afraid of being upstaged.
  • Do not feel guilty that they are giving too much work to their employees because they were once in their place.

#13. New Leaders fail to navigate office politics

They don’t fully understand the politics at work and don’t take time to grasp it.

It is important that they:

  • Address internal conflicts and discontinue previous leadership issues.
  • Stay aware of the new power struggles. Indeed, they will be compared to previous leaders and compare themselves to previous leaders, have to deal with jealousy and insubordination at first, have to face judgement and backlash from their coworkers.
  • Avoid talking negatively about the previous leader, gossiping about their coworkers with the coworkers.
  • Do not try to belong to a group in particular or try to be friends with their former colleagues.

#14. New leaders don’t take accountability for their actions

They don’t take accountability for their own actions.

Instead, they tend to shift blame, find a scapegoat, are afraid of the words “I don’t know”.

Furthermore, they take credit and don’t shine light on their high performing employees.

Last Words Of Advice!

Mistakes are inevitable, are a factor for change and for:

  • Humbling us and discovering our authentic selves.
  • Exhibiting our vulnerabilities, limitations and blind spots.
  • Showing us what works and what doesn’t.
  • Removing us from our comfort zones.
  • Helping us prioritize and go to the essentials.
  • Teaching us to forgive and to be less hard on ourselves, how to explore and experiment in life, how to learn and change.
  • Making us more resourceful, more resilient, more self-disciplined and building our problem solving skills.

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.

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The 5 Second Rule By Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, And Confidence With Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins is a self-help book, urging people to take action by using a 5 second countdown trick.

What is The 5 Second Rule?

The 5 Second Rule is a “metacognition technique” that improves your sense of self, your life, career, health.

The principle of The 5 Second Rule is the following:

“The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.” At 1, you should be moving.

The 5 Second Rule By Mel Robbins

Where does The 5 Second Rule come from?

The principle of The 5 Second Rule comes from the combination of two thoughts:

  • Mel Robbins, while feeling she failed at life, realized that she would take only 5 seconds to talk herself out of waking up in the morning, out of improving and doing the right thing.
  • One night, while watching TV, Mel Robbins also made the observation that a rocket launches after a 5 second countdown. Afterwards, she would launch herself out of bed, the same way the rocket would launch into space.

What are the benefits of The 5 Second Rule?

The 5 Second Rule is an empowering thought process. Through this principle, you are able to experience freedom and quiet your mind.

The 5 Second Rule enables you to trust your instincts, to take back control of your life, to make the right decisions.

Among its various applications, you will have the ability to improve your health, focus on the essentials, increase your productivity, break procrastination, avoid distractions, be authentic, replace your bad habits with good ones, get up early and start your routine early in the morning.

The 5 Second Rule is a tool that drives courage in difficult times and builds “Real Confidence”. It pushes you to act and to change.

What about courage?

According to Mel Robbins, when trying to change, when facing something that is uncertain, unknown, that scares you or makes you hesitate, your brain feels like something is wrong.

Your mind will then stop the change process and trap you with your own thoughts.

Courage, your birthright, is therefore required to push you forward and to implement change.

The 5 Second Rule will give you the courage you need to go after what you really want, to have a more fulfilling life and to not give in to your fears.

In addition, it is detrimental for you to stop making excuses for not acting on your instincts. Your excuses are always wrong and there is no right time.

No external factor will validate your choices and your ideas. Only putting yourself out there and getting out your comfort zone will.

What about confidence?

Confidence is a skill which means it is a learnt behavior. In fact, your confidence has nothing to do with your personality and will increase every time you step out of your comfort zone.

Your everyday courage will help you assess your own worth, build up your confidence, connect with yourself, find your true passion, build meaningful relationships, and meet new people.

Your everyday courage gives you the confidence to explore and makes you realize that the power you need was inside of you all along.

Review

In appearance, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, And Confidence With Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins, looks like a time management book that provides quick short-term fixes.

However, in reality, The 5 Second Rule is a transformational tool, delivering long-term results.

It is written for people who are plagued by fear, who want to change and take charge of their lives but don’t know how to. Change is difficult because it requires courage and confidence.

Furthermore, The 5 Second Rule can be customized to your liking. It enables you to:

  • Work on your confidence and your courage.
  • Stop overthinking, worrying and magnifying problems.
  • Trust your guts and honor your instincts.
  • Stop hesitating and holding yourself back.
  • Become more present and acquire patience.
  • Start performing and to become more goal-oriented.
  • Control your emotions, fight mental illnesses and bad mental habits.
  • Take ownership of your life and start the transformation process.

The 5 Second Rule is a principle that we already intuitively and intrinsically know. But, after years of research, Mel Robbins coherently put these ideas together.

Mel Robbins also shares poignant quotes, real examples and testimonials of people who have used The 5 Second Rule for diverse reasons.

The 5 Second Rule is life changing, encouraging, motivational and inspirational. It shows you how to change for the better.

Favorite quote(s)

That’s what you are doing when you use the Rule. You are honoring yourself. You are championing your ideas. And each time you use it, you take one step closer to being the person you are truly meant to be.

Doing the work to improve your life is simple, you can do it, and it’s work you want to do—because it’s the most important work that there is. It is the work of learning how to love and trust yourself enough to stop waiting and to start leaning into all the magic, opportunity, and joy that your life, work, and relationships have to offer.

When it comes to goals, dreams, and changing your life, your inner wisdom is a genius. Your goal-related impulses, urges, and instincts are there to guide you. You need to learn to bet on them.

The difference between people who make their dreams come true and those of us who don’t is just one thing: the courage to start and the discipline to keep going.

Ratings 3.5/5

Author

Mel Robbins

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

There are laws and principles that govern the workplace. We can either ignore them, acknowledge them or abide by them.

These laws and principles are the most visible when someone has been promoted, is moving forward or a new boss is in town. Some appear to be jealous, some try to quickly affiliate with the winner, to show their allegiance. Others are quick to sabotage and to compete.

I am not one to willingly participate in office politics. However, in my opinion, because knowledge is power, the best way to avoid politics is to know the rules. I like to know what is happening, how to read a room, to always be aware of my behavior, and to prepare myself for what is coming.

This advice is also valuable for minorities who encounters western group think in the office, who need to be realistic about their situations and want to understand how to advance themselves, how to protect themselves.

Wondering how to navigate office politics and whether or not you should be interested in it?

7 Pragmatic Principles Of Office Politics

What is office politics?

Office politics is a human concept and is inevitable. It is also very necessary and will go on whether your participate in it or not.

In office politics people seek power, leadership, influence and/or control of other people, more responsibility on their job.

Office politics is a particular hard skill because it requires that you control your primitive, impulsive responses to different situations and that you stay in high alert at all times.

The Perks Of Office Politics

Political animals in the office usually get what they want, to evade conflicts and sometimes create them between different individuals. Political animals:

  • Have influence. They build healthy relationships, even with toxic individuals.
  • Recognize the agendas and powers at play in any relationships.
  • Get the best projects, get promoted, get pay raise and other rewards.
  • Are trusted for their opinions.
  • Get credit for their hard work.
  • Get their career on a positive track.
  • Have the ability and the tools to deal with opposition and usually wins in a conflict.
  • Conserve their energy and focus it on worthwhile issues.
  • Avoid being blindsided or facing unpleasant outcomes.

What We Hate About Office Politics

Office politics is often badly perceived because it can be cruel, be viewed as being calculated and manipulative.

Sometimes, office politics is a dangerous and corrosive game but it is a game. It is part of human nature, a social activity, a marathon and not a sprint.

It is often used to sabotage, to manipulate, to deflect or to create a conflict between people.

Therefore, it is not for the faint of heart. Before starting, you must make sure that you are robust, are not dependent on people or other external factors, that you are emotionally detached from your work and that you can clearly separate your identity from your job.

Furthermore, keep in mind that abusing power on the long run does not lead to success.

Principle #1: Defining your purpose

Having greater goals in life will help you sustain and overcome opposition, avoid being pushed around by people or events. Your ultimate goals can be:

  • staying at a company and getting your pay check to ensure your lifestyle and to guarantee financial stability.
  • staying at a company, evolving, building healthy relationships
  • Living the company and finding better

Either way, set realistic goals, expectations for yourself. Next, stay focus on your goals, use your goals to guide your decisions and your behavior.

Principle #2: Know your strengths, weaknesses and limits

Politics and power will challenge your weaknesses.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you assess your worth, appreciate your contributions at work and determine whether or not you can run with horses. This will also help you identify them in others, understand them, maximize their potential and forgive their weaknesses.

To be effective at office politics, don’t directly demonstrate or enunciate your strengths or weaknesses. It is best to wait for the right moment to do so.

In addition, you must seek to enhance your performance, your productivity, to develop competencies that are hard to acquire or hard to replace. and to deliver great results. Then, discreetly promote your results.

Principle #3: Maintaining your leadership capabilities

It is important to learn to keep your peace and your composure at all times by seriously controlling your emotions. This demands a lot of discipline and will help you grow as a person.

Furthermore, lead by example and take care or yourself first. Great leaders have power but stay humble and don’t abuse it.

Seek understanding

To help you manage people, conflicts, to adopt the right behavior, to estimate your position and status:

  • Understand the company culture, values and principles.
  • Understand the people who you work with, estimate their boundaries and assess their attitudes.
  • Believe that hierarchy exist and is gladly enforced in the workplace. This means that you must, at some point, show deference to your “superiors”.This doesn’t mean that your “superiors” have greater character, greater skill sets or greater vision. However, no matter who you are, you won’t be able to freely speak your mind, to make your own decisions, to control your assignments.

Discipline your words and your thoughts

  • Stay away from gossip and rumors.
  • Watch what you say and how you say it.
  • Give substance to your speech.
  • Monitor your behavior at all times.

Discipline your emotions

  • Get rid of your ego and nurture your sense of humor. If you don’t know something, say so and don’t fake knowledge.
  • Don’t waste your time and energy on useless matters.
  • Keep your wits about you.
  • When someone slights you, don’t give them an emotional reaction.

Principle #4: Behave ethically

  • Remain true to your core values.
  • Don’t expect to be treated fairly.
  • Upgrade your character in order to be unimpeachable from the start. People with low or no ethics are unsuccessful in the long run.

Poor character leads to abusive, aggressive, masochistic, sadist behavior and office politics.

When I was working for a long corporation, one person in the office was being bullied. I was asked, as a team member, to participate in the bullying and to force the person to quit.

Most of my team members, for fun or for fear of retribution, would engage in toxic behavior towards this one person, put down false complaints and manufacture false rumors as well.

Without doing the same, I realized that sadistically beating down on someone, engaging in toxic behavior were not aligning with my core values and wouldn’t allow me to sleep properly at night.

To solve the solution, I simply listened to the request, spoke positively about the person, suggested to them that they had to find a better position and found a better place to work myself.

What was your ethically questionable experience?

Principle #5: Building your network and gaining influence

Networking is an important process, especially if your are shy and introverted. Who you know will determine how far you will get.

Here are some tips below that will help you be unbothered, to gain influence and build positive relationships:

  • Protect your reputation at all cost. For instance, if you make promises, live up to them.
  • Have a positive attitude. Avoid being mean or offending people for sport.
  • Act or be confident. It is important to fake it until you make it, to dress confidently and dress for success.
  • Give your best on your job and put your best foot forward. You can even become an expert in your field.
  • Empathetic ally listen to your coworkers. This way, you will get invaluable information about the environment, be solution oriented and build strong relationships.
  • Look to be respected and not to be liked.
  • Seek to integrate the group before you seek to lead it.
  • Target people who can help you achieve your goals and let them know what you bring to the table.
  • Don’t worry what people say about you, don’t gossip or spread false rumors.
  • Avoid too much flattery. You will appear weak to  your peers, will erode their respect and the respect of the higher-ups.
  • Involve people in your decision-making process.

Principle #6: Friend or Foe?

It is detrimental to discern your friends from your enemies, your confidant from your comrade, your constituents from your compatriots.

Keep in mind that:

  • Not everybody is your friend and don’t expect your “friends” to have your back.
  • It is better to have allies than to have enemies.
  • Your enemies won’t stop at anything to block you from achieving your purpose.

In conflicts or challenging situations:

  • Always seek to diffuse tension.
  • Avoid taking sides, power struggles but don’t give in to enemies or attempt to please them.
  • Mind your business and don’t take anything personally.
  • Identify the toxic behavior and the solution for it.
  • Don’t stoop to the level of the perpetrator or please the naysayers.
  • Don’t play the victim or suffer unfair treatment.
  • Ask questions rather than giving answers or have a private chat with an enemy and try to bring them to your side.
  • If you are not in position of power or are not favored at your job, accept it and move on, especially if you don’t know how to maneuver the situation.
  • If excluded from a group, don’t attempt to fit in, just join a new one or leave the place.
  • If you are being openly criticized or insulted, don’t let that affect your self-worth or your work. Agree with the perpetrator without demonstrating emotion.

Principle #7: Change

To handle office politics, one must learn to appreciate change and adapt to it.

  • Stay present, stay resilient and robust to conflicts and change, to your own emotions, to the emotions of others.
  • Learn to deal with change and quickly recover from your blows.

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.

Getting Promoted At Work — 32 Easy Strategies To Take Control Of Your Career

Getting a promotion is a long and complex process that can trigger your innermost insecurities. Therefore, it requires a lot of internal and external work. 

Furthermore, getting promoted involves being willing to take risks, changing your bad habits, increasing self-awareness, improving your behavior, being able to compete for a position, being committed to a goal and to an organization.

Wondering how to take control of your career, get a pay raise, get promoted, or move on to a new successful career?

Getting Promoted At Work

To be promoted, you have to make yourself valuable and bring success to your organization. Promotion comes from a need to:

  • Be recognized.
  • Take on new responsibilities.
  • Gain more influence, more authority, more respect and more credibility.
  • Get a pay raise.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Have greater impact on your organization.
  • Acquire a higher sense of achievement, of job satisfaction.

You must pursue a promotion for the right reasons.

Indeed, if you decide to go after a proportion for the money, for a feeling of superiority, for an ego boost, for revenge purposes, you will not last long in the position.

  • Be mindful of the impact of your promotion. Measure the changes that the promotion will brig and if you will be able to handle them, if your time and health will be jeopardized, if your priorities will be rearranged, your relationships repurposed, your commitments denied, if there will be more power plays and more politics. Establishing the pros and cons of the promotions will clarify the reasons why you are pursuing a promotion.
  • Identify your ideal position, ideal boss, career path and compare it to the promotion.
  • Do your homework on the promotion, identify the required standards of your promotion then demonstrate that you meet the requirements for the new position.

How to get promoted?

To get promoted, you must get noticed for the right reasons. It is necessary to build your brand from day one. As soon as you leave your house, you have to be mindful of your behavior, your appearance, your words and your brand.

To maximize your potential, to build your brand and to finally get that promotion:

  1. Stay prepared for success. Stay focused and competent at your job, meet your goals and deadlines, remember that experience will build up your credibility.
  2. Present yourself in the best light possible. Mind your image and your grooming. Your style says a lot about you and is your first representative.
  3. Decide what yo want to be known for and guard your reputation with your life. Remain professional at all times when at work, stay away from drama, don’t gossip and mind what you say to others.
  4. Understand that you must establish your identity and your self-worth outside of your career and your job description.
  5. Lead by example and establish a code of conduct for yourself.
  6. Learn to be patient and to slowly reap what you sow.
  7. Find out what matters most to you, keep commitments to yourself and to others, create a vision board, repeat positive affirmations if you have to, set goals and review them daily.
  8. Temper your desire to speak out, to speak first and to speak the loudest. Keep your message brief all the time. Avoid talking just to fill the silence and avoid small talk if you are incapable of handling it.
  9. Speak clearly, control your voice tone, pitch, pace, diction and intonations. Also, be careful of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Stay positive in your delivery and never use the word “no”.
  10. Listen not with the intent to reply but the desire to understand, with the desire to read between the lines, to take real interest in what people are saying and to be empathetic.
  11. Pay attention to the unspoken language, gestures. Remember that talk is cheap, that actions speak louder than words. On your side, make sure that you keep eye contact during conversation.
  12. Learn to rely on your gut, on your instincts, on your common sense.
  13. Boost your leadership self-esteem from time to time.
  14. Be confident in your abilities, know your strengths and weaknesses, be open to learnConfidence will help you develop your presence and command respect. Besides, don’t allow your strengths that have gotten you noticed so far be the reasons of your demise, of your career derailment.
  15. Stay authentic to be able to build relationships.
  16. Keep your integrity throughout the process. Don’t do things that you don’t want to do or you don’t think are right to do.
  17. Be a problem solver, taking into account the company culture and requirements. To every problem you bring to the forefront, find a solution to it. Anticipate issues, gain perspective, be responsive, adapt to different circumstances and learn to solve them before they show up. This will make you more reliable, more empathetic, will leave you two steps ahead. This will also get higher-ups to trust and respect you.
  18. Be flexible and organized.
  19. Show initiative and keep your motivation.
  20. Show that you can effectively manage conflicts and face challenge. Furthermore, learn to control your emotions to control your behavior, keep your composure in difficult times, stay optimistic and see pressure points as opportunities.
  21. Improve your communication style and learn to adapt  your style to different context.
  22. Keep the communication line open with your boss, inform him or her of your latest achievements and seek feedback. During performance reviews, mention your career goals, directly ask for a promotion or for more responsibilities for example.
  23. Take risks and don’t be afraid of failure. If you fail, turn a negative into a positive, learn from your mistakes, avoid dwelling on your past, avoid beating yourself up or blowing events out of proportion.
  24. Be accountable, correct past mistakes and avoid shifting blame.
  25. Understand the company culture, learn to deal with office politics. 
  26. Be loyal to your employer, have the best interest of your organization at heart and demonstrate your intentions.
  27. Take every opportunity to network and to build a list of contacts who can help you. To do so, master your people skills, discover how to sell yourself, treat every encounter like gold, do more favors than you ask for. Talk about your own achievements, your interests and motivations without overbearing your audience. However, don’t toot your own horn, don’t be desperate to make contact, don’t nag people, don’t focus too much on yourself  or else you will damage your relationships.
  28. Enter a mentorship program or find a mentor in your organization who can give you some advice and take your career to the next level.
  29. Volunteer for additional and interesting work outside of your position, for a position that you wish you had inside your organization.
  30. Attend training programs and seminars.
  31. Don’t try to please everyone. Respectability trumps likeability every single time.
  32. If you don’t get promoted, move on or create your own opportunities. But no matter what you do, don’t feel entitled to the promotion.

 

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.

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job By Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith

In How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or JobSally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith have noticed that in the workplace, high achievers — men and women — often demonstrate problematic habits that undermine their career, that have propelled them in the past and that won’t allow them to move further up.

Women, contrary to men, display different self-limiting behavior, face particular challenges, even if they want to advance their career and even if they have assets to contribute to the workplace.

Most often, women feel stuck in their jobs. Feeling stuck comes from feeling like you are unable to move forward, like some force is willfully holding you back, like you are not allowed to use your strengths or you are underappreciated. The feeling of being stuck will shape their behavior and will subsequently determine how others will respond to them.

There are also various external barriers that hold women back from success: most workplace structure has been designed by men for men. Stereotypes influence women ability to move up the ladder: they are their perceived as too aggressive, too passive, too talkative, too quite, too emotional, too mean, they smile too much or frown too much… Needless to say, women are not at all responsible for these barriers or being held back.

How Women Rise

Changing habits

People tend to cling to habits that have made them successful but that are no longer serving them. These habits have been reinforced by external factors and by people who want to celebrate your success, by the fact that most people are blind to their own weaknesses.

Furthermore, organizations are quick to claim that they thrive on change, but make it hard for their employees to change within them because:

  1. Organizations assign roles and tasks on past behaviors and keeping them there. This makes it difficult for employees to practice new behaviors.
  2. Organizations celebrate and reward a successful action and ignore a warning or a successful lack of action. Someone would be celebrated for signing a good deal and avoid a bad one. The latter are viewed as naysayers.

Habits are not intrinsic to your character but are your comfort zone, your default setting created by your surroundings. Changing is hard, time-consuming and may require external help.

People will then hold one to old behaviors rather than changing them. That resistance is built naturally by rationalizing a behavior, by your brain after repeated behavior and familiar situations.

Because stopping a habit is more effective than starting one, Helgesen & Goldsmith have put together 12 habits to stop practicing in order to be successful as a woman. To open new doors, be purposeful and intentional about choices and change behavior, it is first detrimental for women to identify how them define success.

According to Helgesen and Goldsmith, while caring about rewards and status, most women value satisfaction, quality of life and the impact of their contribution over a high salary or a high position. Women don’t define success as winning or as keeping score, don’t enjoy competition and rather collaboration. Hence, women find it easier to transition to leadership positions because they can place emphasis on others instead of themselves.

Your old habits have previously served but are currently hindering you. It’s not too late to change and acquire better habits. To get rid of them:

  • Identify the habits you need to work on.
  • Recognize your behavior as a habit, try different behaviors and observe the responses.
  • Repeat behaviors until your brain is comfortable with the new behavior.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  • Recognize your strengths as well, avoid judging people.
  • Address habits one at a time.

HABIT #1: Reluctance to claim your achievements

Women work harder than men but avoid taking credit for their successes, avoid using the pronoun “I” because they believe that:

  • Their work will automatically speak for itself.
  • This behavior is obnoxious and disruptive.
  • The group to which they belong to expect them to be modest, unobtrusive and coy.

To get over the reluctance to claim your achievements:

  • Learn how to promote yourself.
  • Believe that you are detrimental to your own success.
  • Find out what motivates you, why you want to get ahead at work.
  • Enlist the help of people to speak on your behalf and don’t contradict what people have to positively say about you.

HABIT #2: Expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions

When others don’t notice the work that they do, women start to feel unacknowledged or underappreciated for the hard work that they put in. They start to feel like the don’t belong and will look for another place to work.

To get over expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions:

  • Set goals for your career and share your vision at every opportunity.
  • Prepare an elevator speech and be ready to deliver it at any moment. This will demonstrate your ambition, clarify your future, get you noticed, show that you are confident and serious, will be an opportunity to highlight your skills, will help you identify the self-serving opportunities. Your elevator speech should be clear, concise, identical to a personal vision or mission statement.

HABIT #3: Overvaluing expertise

Becoming an expert in a field gets women noticed, is a defense mechanisms, a way of asserting their value.

However, mastering a role will only keep you in the same role. Becoming an expert is time-consuming, will make you knowledgeable but will not make you a leader.

To get over the habit of overvaluing expertise:

  • Build relationships, increase influence and do the job well enough.
  • Don’t be sloppy.

HABIT #4: Just building rather than building and leveraging relationships

To women, building relationships is emotionally and personally rewarding. Indeed, women have good relationships skills but don’t leverage them to get ahead in the workplace because they don’t want:

  • Their connections to feel used.
  • Their relationships to be based on self-interests.
  • To play the political game.

To get over the habit of just building rather than building and leveraging relationships:

  • Ask people to connect you to higher-ups.
  • Use a win-win or quid pro quo system.
  • Become more intentional about your relationships.
  • Remember that people can benefit from you and vice versa.

HABIT #5: Failing to enlist allies from day one

From the first day on the job, most women tend to try to keep their heads down, to understand every aspect of their job, to avoid asking questions, to value expertise, to be undergoing the impostor syndrome. As seem before, expertise is just your way of making yourself credible.

Instead find out with who you should connect with to get better visibility, more influence.

To get over failing to enlist allies from day one:

  • Reach out to others first and engage as many people as possible.
  • Find mentors and sponsors.
  • Keep in mind that allies are not friends.
  • Talk positively about your allies.
  • Identify the people who can propel you to the next level or that you would enjoy working with.

HABIT #6: Putting your job before your career

Most women trying to do their jobs perfectly because they are loyal, get stuck in the same job for years.

To get over putting your job before your career:

  • Let people know that you are ready for a challenge.
  • Analyze how your current position can serve your long-term interest.
  • Admit self-interest and identify what you value and how you can maximize your strengths.
  • Appreciate you current position.

HABIT #7: The perfection trap

Women tend to be perfect due to social expectations. Doing your job perfectly doesn’t guarantee success. Instead, it creates stress, keep you distracted and annoyed and sets you up for disappointment, it makes you hard on yourself, destroyed by failure, paralyzed by mistakes, sets too high standards for your team.

To get over the perfection trap:

  • Don’t be controlling.
  • Learn to delegate and not micromanage.
  • Learn to prioritize and identify the vital few.

HABIT #8: The disease to please

Women find themselves eager to please, to be nice, to make everybody happy, are afraid of disappointing and of being a burden. This behavior is time-consuming, kills careers, deters from taking a stance and from following a higher purpose.

To get over the disease to please:

  • Identify your priorities.
  • Learn to delegate.
  • Select your commitments with care.
  • Stand your ground.

HABIT #9: Minimizing

Women tend to make themselves smaller, which is translated in the body language and the words they use. This behavior sends the message that they are diminished, subservient, non deserving, uncertain and underachieving.

To get over the habit of minimizing yourself:

  • Talk about your accomplishments, talk about individual and collective wins if that makes you feel fairer.
  • Choose your voice and words carefully.
  • Stay in the moment.
  • Avoid multitasking and spreading yourself too thin.

HABIT #10: Too much

In the workplace, women have to temper and constantly monitor their emotional response to situations. Being perceived as too intense, too emotional, too strong, too vulnerable, too much can be an obstacle to promotion.

Monitoring your behavior, your emotions is draining and makes you come out as inauthentic. To get over the display of too much emotions:

  • women have to exercise self-discipline.
  • Learn to feel, recognize and not immediately react to an emotion.
  • Learn to be concise.
  • Avoid disclosing personal information, problems and weaknesses.
  • Avoid being unprofessional just to be authentic.

HABIT #11: Ruminating

Women are more likely to ruminate, to cling on to the past. They turn their hurt inwards, relive their failure and blame themselves.

Ruminating is counterproductive, are depressing, won’t help you succeed or solve future problems.

To get over the habit of ruminating:

  • women need to find ways to distract themselves and interrupt their thought.
  • learn from the facts and move on.

HABIT #12: Letting your radar distract you

Women notice a lot of details and process them differently than men. They are aware of everybody’s reaction, are distracted by details and are unable to stay ion the moment.

To get over the habit of getting distracted by their radar, discipline your thoughts and refrain from negativity.

Review

How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith is relatable, proactive and insightful. It is written for women with the best intention and with the desire to help women stop self-sacrificing and stop self-sabotaging. It is not necessarily targeted towards women of color even though it mentions the challenges that women of color face in the workplace.

Above all, it teaches us introspection and demonstrates how to control what we can, how to change bad habits, how to improve our quality of life and to reach our full potential.

In addition, How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Helgesen & Goldsmith pushes us to seek the positive in every interaction, in every feedback and to not take remarks personally even if they are based on stereotypes. It’s all about changing a behavior that stands in your way.

For the most part, I agree that women share habits that keep us from advancing in the workplace. There are several points that were accurate and that resonated with me: I have a nagging tendency to ruminate on negative experiences (Habit #11). Because I pay too much attention to detail (Habit #12), the rumination process is that much amplified.

However, I felt like Helgesen and Goldsmith insinuated that women, aware of the stereotypes placed on them in the workplace, have to take on the responsibility of changing themselves to fit in, have to listen to and apply the feedback they received from the people who perpetuate the stereotypes, that they have to become enablers and mirror men’s behavior.

It doesn’t seem like we are supposed to change to acquire greater values or to reach a higher purpose. But we’re changing to fit someone else’s standards or expectations of us: we move from one expectation to another.

Favorite quote(s)

Instead of viewing money and position as the sole or even chief markers of success, women also tend to place a high value on the quality of their lives at work and the impact of their contributions.

the trick to maximizing your talents and opportunities is not becoming a less thoughtful and giving person, but rather being purposeful and intentional about your choices while also addressing the behaviors that keep you stuck.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Sally Helgesen

Marshall Goldsmith