It’s easy to get so accustomed to our unhealthy habits that we don’t recognize them as harmful. We keep drinking the poison, maybe even thinking that they’re just normal. Sometimes it helps to name them, to have a catalog of what trips so many of us up.

Here are seven harmful habits I often see as I work with senior leaders:

  • Hurry: We value speed in our world, and getting a move on is the right thing to do sometimes. But a constant need to hurry even when it’s unnecessary leads to superficiality and running other people over. 
  • Worry: Too many of us have a nagging sense of fear. It leads us to hoard money and attention and toilet paper. It turns us in on ourselves instead of allowing us to pay attention to others.
  • Perfectionism: Many of us have been fooled into confusing excellence with perfection. So we hold ourselves and others to an impossible standard, inevitably leading to disappointment and a perpetual sense of defeat.
  • Comparison: Nothing can make us feel worse about a good thing than comparison to someone else who has it better. Yes, comparison can drive us to new heights. But left unchecked, it can also make us constantly dissatisfied and bitter.
  • Glory-hounding: We’ve all been in a meeting where someone grandstands for the boss. Maybe that gloryhound was even us. It comes from a habit of needing others to see us, to affirm us so that our place in the group is secure. It ends up alienating us from the very people we’re trying to impress.
  • Grabbing: Nothing kills trust quite like someone being grabby. Whether we snarf up budget or positions on the org chart or turf, others start to see that we are taking care of ourselves no matter the cost to others. They pull back or start to grab some for themselves as a result, killing cooperation.
  • Grudge-keeping: Anger is a powerful motivator. But it also kills us. Some of us are continually dogged by our inability to really forgive others. And the only guarantee when working with people is that you’ll have something you’ll need to forgive at some point. Left unaddressed, we wind up chronically grumpy and suspicious.

This isn’t a comprehensive list. You could probably add poisons that you’ve seen. But these and other harmful habits get in the way of leaders becoming their best selves. Every day. 

That’s why The Grind is so great. Repeating the same thing over and over helps us to see these patterns, to name the poison.

Be bright