Less Asshole, More Badass

Successful people who work or live closely with others are prone to being labeled one of these delightful epithets. If you’re lucky, it’s to your face and from people who love you unconditionally. Most of us are not this fortunate.

Most of us avoid surrounding ourselves with individuals willing to tell the truth about how our behavior might inspire such descriptive language. Instead, those we offend with our misbehaving often move out, move on, or move away without sharing how we come across.

Never realizing that our behavior might actually be working against us, we experience an ounce of success and subconsciously or otherwise associate our good fortune with behaviors that are laced with common delusions like:

  • Overestimating our contributions to a project
  • Taking credit, either partial or complete, for success that truly belongs to others
  • Enjoying elevated opinions of our professional skills and our standing among our peers
  • Conveniently ignoring the costly failures or time-consuming dead ends we create
  • Exaggerating our work’s impact on net profits without fully examining the hidden costs behind our efforts

There is a significant amount of research that demonstrates this to be true of many people. One great resource on the particulars is Marshall Goldsmith’s book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

When we look at our past as a predictive means for what can happen in our future, and when we do so without an honest inventory of what really got us to this point, our delusions are likely to calcify into bad habits. These are what Goldsmith calls The 20 Bad Habits: Challenges in Interpersonal Behavior.

Having been mentored and trained by Marshall on how to coach this content, I highly recommend anyone in a leadership position review his list.

I also suggest that if you see your behavior leaning into one or two of these habits, engage in one or both of the following:

  • Make changes on your own by watching Teaching Leaders What to Stop, a Marshall Goldsmith video playlist that delves deeper into the details of each habit.
  • Make changes with the support of a coach who is certified by a Marshall Goldsmith trainer. Look for a Stakeholder Centered Certified Coach here: Find A Coach
Finally, if you work in HR or manage/coach successful people, you’ll want to take advantage of Marshall Goldsmith’s next workshop and become certified to coach his Stakeholder Centered methodology. Learn more here: Stakeholder Centered Coaching Certification