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Breaking Bad Leadership Habits

Leaders have to learn and practice new management techniques to overcome the habits that could be holding them back. In two articles, I examine the obstacles, and later, the factors that can help senior executives overcome them.

We have known for a long time that leaders need to continue to learn throughout their careers. About 50 years ago, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, argued that “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. And about 40 years ago, Alvin Toffler became famous by saying that tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the one who can’t read; he or she will be the one who has not learned how to learn.

via Breaking Bad Leadership Habits | INSEAD Knowledge.

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2 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Bad habits in leadership usually happen over a long period of time. Sometimes, most leaders do not even recognize their “bad habits”. The truth of the matter is that the more frequently a leader gets promoted with higher levels of executive responsibility, the more important are his or her interpersonal relationship skill sets are to success – to more challenging it will become to change bad habits. Recognizing bad habits usually can be made through a 360 feedback process. The road to change is difficult and it takes major personality transformation. However, it is important to remember that one also needs to understand their own strengths. Knowing where your “real self overlaps with your ideals self” will provide the positive energy to move forward to bridge the gaps. This is when one must ask “How do I get from here to there?” and develop an action plan. This is where a coach can assist in developing an action plan and staying focused, providing encouragement and careful feedback.

    If needed, an leader should apologize for his or her behaviors and ask those affected to let go of the past. Be straightforward and ask for their feedback when you succeed or fail. Listen to their input and thank them for helping you. Most of all, enlist the help of a coach and trusted colleague.

    A leader must rehearse a new behavior until it becomes automatic – that is until he or she has mastered it at the level of implicit learning. Only then will the new wiring replace the old. (a bit of neuroscience)

    In closing, we cannot improve our emotional intelligence or change our leadership style without help from others. Our relationships offer us the very context in which we understand our progress and comprehend the usefulness of what we are learning.

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