The following four roadblocks are largely fixable when and if an executive is fully cognizant of them and committed to changing. (Missed the first 3 roadblocks? Check them out here.)
Our experience has shown that authenticity is the single most important determinant for success. People want to be around others who are alive with passion, confidence, boldness, transparency—in other words, authentic. Inauthentic people are unaware of their unintended impact and are typically hesitant to reveal their true selves.
Inauthentic people assume little or no accountability for any drama they may have triggered. They hold back and do not fully or easily disclose their thoughts and feelings. Hence, colleagues are often cautious or feel manipulated by their “hidden agendas.”
Remedy: Observe other people who might exhibit authentic behavior. Develop several Accountability Partners (at home and at work) that can provide feedback when you are not operating authentically. Thank them for the feedback. Pay attention to when a task or conversation is easy and flows effortlessly. Being authentic should feel easy when your thoughts, feelings, and behavior are all aligned and genuine.
5. Poor Communication
Not all senior leaders are articulate and speak in an inspired, compelling manner. Unskilled communicators have the following 3 traits: (1) lacking context – because of inexperience or inability to think of issues in a penetrating way; e.g., the true context and deeper nuances of an issue seem to allude this person; (2) tactical thinking only – defaulting to immediate fixes that do not consider the longer range, strategic implications; (3) abhorrent fear of public speaking – many poor communicators have a quiet, shy, and reserved behavioral style, never having learned to be highly adaptive.
Remedy: Abraham Lincoln once said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Anticipate, prepare, and repeatedly practice speaking about a topic for which you are passionate. Learn to flex your interpersonal style behavior and delivery so you are more focused on others than yourself. Visualize being successful throughout every presentation.
6. Low Impulse Control (LIC)
Leaders who blurt on almost everything have high attention-seeking needs. They often feel in competition with others so they operate as if their ego is challenged, hence the compelling need to demonstrate their expertise. Little do they know that if their behavior is left unchecked, they will eventually lose endorsement and respect from others. LIC leaders are short-term thinkers; they talk about quick fixes to complex problems and blindly take sides without considering the pros and cons. They have difficulty staying focused and they blurt inappropriate comments and often gossip about others.
Remedy: If you tend to blurt, hit the “pause button” every time you interact with others, especially in meetings. Have a code word with your accountability partners which will be a reminder to be quiet, sit still, and listen. Practice being less emotional and be more measured and deliberate in your approach to problem solving and when communicating with others. Keep your comments brief and be supportive of others.
7. Superior Attitude
People with a superior attitude are surprised when their colleagues view them as arrogant, overbearing, and off-putting. They possess a pronounced entitlement attitude that implies, “I’m the best and the brightest in the room / organization. My ideas are the only ones worth pursuing and you should feel privileged to know me.” When superior-minded people discount the cultures, opinions, and experiences of others as lacking in relevance, they are extremely difficult to be influenced and are rarely respected.
Remedy: Lighten up. Don’t be so impressed with yourself; no one, especially you, is perfect. Ask others for their opinions. Listen deeply for sound solutions. Reinforce others’ involvement in developing sound strategies. Catch others doing something right. . . and by doing so, you are automatically lifting them up.