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20 Habits / Challenges In Interpersonal Behaviours

20 Habits / Challenges In Interpersonal Behaviours is a list of destructive bad habits a leader consciously or subconsciously can impose on their colleagues which can not only impact those close to the leader, but also across the whole organisation.

The impact of such behaviours and especially for those in positions of power can not only prevent a business from running smoothly but they may also be limiting their own true potential.

What is more these behaviours are not only related to business / work life, they also impact personal life too.

The 20 habits were researched by Dr Marshall Goldsmith who observed the many behavioural traits in the clients he worked with as a successful leadership coach, working with some of the most successful CEOs in the world.

His findings were published in his award winning and New York Times best selling book – “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There”, recognised by Amazon.com as one of the Top 100 books ever written. Marshall is only one of two authors with two books on the list.

Who is Marshall Goldsmith?

It is an honour working alongside a mentor who not only is recognised as the leading expert in the field of coaching but also is someone who has successfully coached over 150 top CEOs across the world.

The mentor in question is none other than Dr Marshall Goldsmith –one of the most generous and giving people I know and the expert in the field of coaching and leadership development.

In the long list of recognitions and accolades he has been recognised for, some are:

  • Thinkers50 – World’s most influential leadership thinker (2015 and 2011), top ten business thinker, top rated executive coach. Inducted in 2018 into the Hall of Fame and a new award category announced: The Marshall Goldsmith Award for Coaching & Mentoring.
  • Inc.com – America’s #1 executive coach.
  • Institute of Management Studies – Lifetime achievement award for management education.
  • Forbes – One of five most respected executive coaches.
  • The Wall Street Journal – Top ten executive educators.
  • The Times – One of 15 Greatest Business Thinkers in the World.

The Connection

My first experience of Marshall, unbeknown to me at the time, was the early 2000’s when he was coaching the CEO of FTSE 100 company, a pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline and the CEO at the time, JP Garnier.

Being at director level within the organisation with initial European Regional, followed by Global responsibility, I experienced first-hand the positive behavioural change through my engagement with my up line management across the two layers below the CEO level where my role sat. This impact went on to support the development of a new culture of the newly formed merged company which was completed in 2001.

This also led to a behavioural change in me and my style of leadership which was eventually emulated by my own teams. It became a culture and way of being within the company that I was very passionate and proud about.

Fast forward to 2016 and I met Marshall for the first time in person at one of his training events here in the UK and I instantly felt and recognised the link of his training, stories, experiences and thoughts to my own experiences during those corporate days at GlaxoSmithKline. Marshall confirmed he had coached JP Garnier which led to some amazing shifts in the management style within the organisation.

100 Coaches (MG100)

Inspired by a workshop run by Ayse Birsel called ‘Design the Life You Love’Marshall embarked on a mission to select a handful of coaches in a new ‘pay it forward’ project where he would teach everything he knows to those selected coaches – their promise in return was to do the same, pass on the knowledge to other coaches in the future.

His LinkedIn video announcement of this project where he shared the application process became at the time one of the most watched videos in LinkedIn’s history – attracting over 16,000 global applications.

Those handful of coaches, each hand selected by Marshall eventually became a group of 100 from all over the world. The group became to be known as “100 Coaches” as announced in January 2018.

It was an absolute honour to be selected by Marshall in 2017 to be a member of this project and one of the chosen 100 coaches – a group of like minded professionals who are at the top of their game and the most abundant people I’ve ever worked with.

20 Habits / Challenges In Interpersonal Behaviours

If you have worked in an organisation, you may have experienced those in a leadership role have important responsibilities because firstly their every word and suggestion is listened to. The challenge is that when the leader expresses an opinion, everyone jumps to attention.

Like the famous game ‘Chinese Whispers’, news travels fast and before you know it the message can get misconstrued and a simple opinion can end up becoming actions, policies, right through to the complete change of direction of the whole company – all at significant cost to the business.

Opinion is one thing; the behaviour of the leader is most important especially the higher up you go. The exact behaviour from the top will easily be emulated and repeated, it spreads like a virus across the organisation.

Marshall was often asked during his coaching engagements if leaders he coached could really change their behaviour?

His answer was…

“…behavioural changes are often the only significant changes we can make.”

As a 10 year board member of the ‘Peter Drucker Foundation‘ Marshall had many opportunities to listen to this great man. Marshall quoted Peter Drucker famously saying…

“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”.

It is true, in the higher levels of the organisation, all the leading players might be technically skilled, smart and often are (or are surrounded by) experts. The challenges are not relating to knowledge, intelligence and what to do – those things will happen and if they go wrong they can be fixed.

It is, to be exact the interpersonal behaviour that goes hand in hand with the leadership behaviours of the leader that have the most impact to the organisation.

It is through this Marshall researched and identified 20 Habits and challenges of Interpersonal Behaviours which are described below.

Click on each of the hashtags below to learn more about each habit, and also the comments of others who shared their views on each one through their engagement of the posts here on LinkedIn.

20 Habits

1.    #WinningTooMuch – “the need to win at all costs and in all situations, when it matters, when it doesn’t, when its totally beside the point.”

2.    #AddingTooMuchValue – “the overwhelming desire to add our two cents/pence to every discussion.”

3.    #PassingJudgment – “the need to rate others and impose our standards on them.”

4.    #MakingDestructiveComments – “the needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharper and witty.”

5.    #StartingWithNoButHowever – “the overuse of these negative quantifiers which secretly say to everyone ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’.”

6.    #TellingTheWorldHowSmartYouAre – “the need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.”

7.    #SpeakingWhenAngry – “using emotional volatility as a management tool.”

8.    #LetMeExplainWhyThatWontWork – “the need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.”

9.    #WithholdingInformation – “the refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.”

10. #FailingToGiveProperRecognition – “the inability to praise and reward.”

11. #ClaimingCreditThatWeDontDeserve – “the most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.”

12. #MakingExcuses – “the need to reposition our annoying behaviour as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.”

13. #ClingingToThePast – “the need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.”

14. #PlayingFavourites – “failing to see that we are treating someone fairly.”

15. #RefusingToExpressRegret – “the inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognise how our actions affects others.”

16. #NotListening – “the most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.”

17. #FailingToExpressGratitude – “the most basic form of bad manners.”

18. #PunishingTheMessenger – “the misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help.”

19. #PassingTheBuck – “the need to blame everyone but ourselves.”

20. #AnExcessiveNeedToBeMe – “exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.”

Further information

You can download Marshall’s list of the #20Habits list – here.

You can hear Marshall talk about his book – here.

You can learn about the 100 coaches project – here

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