Modern Office Flooded

Flaws in the Workplace

The Father of modern business management, Peter Drucker, wrote “we spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”

Gerald Levin was the Chairman of Time Warner in the 1990’s. Levin was an accomplished CEO – a visionary leader. In fact, he helped invent cable TV, like HBO. He transformed Time Warner from a movie and magazine company into a broadcasting powerhouse. But, in 2000, Levin made a mistake. He merged Time Warner with an upstart online company – AOL. It was at that time the biggest corporate merger in US history. The result – it almost destroyed Time Warner – resulting in massive layoffs. Levin would lose his job, a big chunk of his net worth and his position as CEO. If only Levin would have applied the brakes and stop the company merger from happening.

Well, think about what you as a leader – what behavior might you stop doing?

Recently, my own mentor has challenged me with this very question. So, for transparency, I would like to share with you a behavior I wish to stop doing – this behavior is to talk less and listen more (Number 15 below). The most successful leaders have a common quality – they talk less and listen more. So, I’m putting you all on notice and letting you all know, I’m willing to try and develop this habit. Please feel free to let me know when I’m talking to much and need to listen more.

Finally, think about your leadership positions and what behavior you need to stop doing.

  • Common flaws in the workplace (adapted from Marshall Goldsmith, Triggers):
  • Adding to much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion
  • Passing judgement: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  • Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks
  • Starting with “no”, “but”, or “however”: The overuse of these terms says: I’m right, you wrong.
  • Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show other people we’re smarter
  • Speaking when angry: using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  • “let me explain why that won’t work”: need to share our negative thoughts
  • Withholding information: refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage
  • Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: overestimate our contribution.
  • Making excuses: our annoying behavior so people excuse us for it.
  • Clinging to the past: deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events/ people from the past.
  • Playing favorites: failing to see we are treating someone unfairly
  • Refusing to express regret: inability to take responsibility for our actions
  • Not listening: the most passive-aggressive form or disrespect for others
  • Failing to express gratitude: bad manners
  • Failing to give proper recognition: inability to praise and reward.
  • Punishing the messenger: attacking the innocent who are usually trying to help
  • Passing the buck: blame everyone but ourselves
  • An excessive need to be “me”: exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
  • Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations

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