Are These Habits Destroying Your Leadership?

We often talk about things that can help us improve, which is great. But… It’s much easier to ignore those things and still do okay. Sure, you might not be doing as well as you could, but you probably won’t do much worse than you currently are.

On the flip side, talking about things that are hurting you… that’s a much harder conversation to have and to ignore.

The thing about flaws and weaknesses is they do affect you, sometimes in huge ways, sometimes in smaller ways that add up. Regardless, it’s important to be aware of these weaknesses if your goal is success.

Today we’re going to discuss four habits or mindsets that are severely detrimental to success. These four concepts were developed by Benji in his Tuesday podcast and they hit on some key mistakes many growing leaders make.

1. Living for Approval and Applause

Approval and applause are amazing, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes having someone commend your work is exactly what you need to get over that last obstacle. In fact, we even encourage leaders to applaud their team members. It’s good for morale.

The problem is when applause becomes more than a welcome reward, and starts to be the goal of your work.

Studies (like this one) have actually shown that expecting a reward decreases, creativity, problem solving, and intrinsic motivation. This might seem odd, but keep in mind the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is had inherently even without a reward. The motivation is often for the thing itself, not for any reward. Extrinsic motivation is purely from outside stimulus or reward. There may be no natural motivation for the activity, simply an incentive.

The issue with this is extrinsic motivation is reliant on the surrounding circumstances. But as most know, the surrounding circumstances aren't always, or even usually, that encouraging or exciting. Often working toward success is just that: work.

Leaders need to be motivated even when not receiving praise or approval. So while you should definitely accept praise when it comes and give it to others, make sure you don't depend on it because it will undermine your efforts.

2. Waiting for the Perfect Time

Some times of life are easier to work toward goals than others. Wait... Not really.

People constantly wait for a time when things might "settle down" or they might have "a little more time." Inevitably though, that time never comes because there's always something. Whatever is holding you back from your work now will only be replaced by something else later.

This is why we see older people with a lot of regret or who have maybe not done any of the significant things they wanted to do with their life.

It's so cliche because it's so true: there's no time like the present.

At Trailblazer we believe in making "tomorrow" a curse word. If you want something, you have to train yourself to go get it now. Because when we put our eyes on the future, our dreams tend to stay there.

It may be a small beginning, but take a step today or you will be disappointed and you will experience less breakthrough.

3. Ignoring Your Physical and Mental State

This may seem like an odd thing to throw in here, but that's why it may be the most important.

In a fast paced, immediate, and demanding society, personal health goes out the window and gets run over a million times in rush hour traffic. That's dramatic but... Is it?

How many times do you hear people around you say they're tired? How often do you hear people complaining about how they don't feel good or they feel way too old for their age? Probably all the time. Like all day every day.

That's because most people care far too little about personal health. 

Don't let your hustle and grind overshadow the importance of taking care of yourself. If you want to be at your max capacity, you have to be healthy. What are you eating? How much are you sleeping? Are you exercising?

Our brains allow us to function and they depend on the health of the rest of the body. Healthy body, healthy mind. Healthy mind, better work. We all want that.

4. Neglecting Possible Construction Zones

You can't fix what you don't know, so don't beat yourself up about the impossible things. But what about the areas you know need improvement, yet you choose to ignore?

Personal growth will always be vital to the success of a leader or organization. As someone who seeks to produce the best work, you must be just as disciplined with yourself as you are with your work.

You wouldn't create a project, identify the issues, and leave them there. So why do we do that with ourselves? If their are areas in character that need to improve, don't hide them and don't hide behind them. 

It's difficult. But truthfully, everyone has room to grow. When we neglect that we're only cheating ourselves and our potential to lead successfully.

These are just a few of the things that can't stunt your success as a leader, but they are crucial. Take a minute to reread through these four things and ask yourself which one stands out to you most? 

Is there something you specifically struggle with a lot? No one expects an overnight change, but if you want to be a leader, and if you're reading this I'm assuming you do, take a first step.

So many things boil down to that first step. One by one, walk out a life you're proud to live. 

This week, identify which of these four issues is hindering your leadership and make a plan to conquer it.