The #1 Self-Defeating Behavior That Brings Leaders Down

The faster you stop holding yourself back the more your life will matter.

Other people aren’t your biggest challenge. You are.

The best day in your leadership journey is when you realize the biggest challenges reside within. See if you do some of the self-defeating behaviors I’ve held dear.

The faster you stop self-defeating behaviors, the more your life will matter. Image of a person who feels trapped.

Self-defeating behaviors:

Show up to convince instead of connect.

I’ve carried the burden of knowledge all my life. Everyone is an idiot when you show up knowing. And it’s so exhausting.

The burden of knowledge makes you pushy and manipulative. You don’t intend to be unhumble, but you can’t help it and you don’t see it. I was shocked when my daughter said, “I think you like to scare people.” I thought, “But I’m a fuzzy teddy bear.”

Talk more than you listen.

Put a gag in your word hole if you love the sound of your own voice.

One of my clients texted, “If listening was ever an issue for you, you’ve clearly solved it. You are one of the best listeners I know, finding things in people’s words they don’t even see themselves.”

I’m thankful she feels that way, and it scares me. Listening is work. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone who makes up their mind quickly. (If you’re an introvert, being quiet and actually listening are completely different things.)

Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you. Image of three giraffes.

The #1 self-defeating behavior that brings leaders down:

Lack of self-reflection destroys us.

The solution to self-defeating behaviors begins with structured self-reflection.

When I ask leaders about their self-reflection practice, they often look at me like a cow looks at a new gate.

Questions add structure to self-reflection.

  1. How did you receive help today?
  2. Who did you invite into your life today?
  3. What didn’t work for you today?
  4. What helped you flourish today?
  5. What will you do differently tomorrow?

John David Mann and I wrote a book that helps leaders see themselves more clearly. Coming September 19, 2023. Click the banner below to order your copy.

What self-defeating behaviors do you see in others? In yourself?

How might leaders stop shooting themselves in the foot?

Still curious:

4 Tools for Self-Reflection Every Leader Needs

The Secrets to Self-Leadership

Self-Sabotage | Psychology Today