CHANGING THE 12 BEHAVIOR
THAT KEEP YOU FROM GETTING AHEAD
by James Waldroop Ph.D.
and Timothy Butler Ph.D.
Directors of MBA Career Development at the Harvard Business School. Twenty years relevant experience. Business Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Executive Coaches to many Fortune 500 companies, helping individuals work to their highest level of potential.
Ch. 9: The Unfeeling Spock
FAILURE BEHAVIOR 9: EMOTIONALLY TONE DEAF. You have no people skills. You have suppressed your own emotions and are unable to understand them in others. You have not a trace of empathy. You see people almost as machines. Your sensors don't signal the situation - the give-and-take between people, the tenor of a meeting, group politics, relationships, individual psychology, body language, conversational nuance, shadings, things let unsaid. You just don't hear the music - the tone of the conversation - or see the facial expressions of boredom or agitation.
People act, think and feel. How you act affects how you think and feel, and how you think affects how you act and feel, and how you feel affects how you act and think. If you can not feel, you can not act and think maximally. So you can not deal well with your customers - internal or external.
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM:
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test shows you to be a 'thinking type' - the quantitative, dispassionate, number-crunching analyst. Often introverted, you have no sense of other people's perspectives. You can't read people. You cannot see things as others see them. So you cannot be effective as spokesman, motivator, manager, leader.
FIX THE PROBLEM:
To overcome your disability, you must first learn to pay attention to how people behave, think and feel - to know what motivates them, what their work styles are, their goals. You must learn the skill of empathy.
Then learn your own emotions - felt, transmuted and suppressed. Next you'll gather examples of your own obnoxious, insensitive, alienating behavior. Then you identify specific examples of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that you need to eliminate.
Identify antidotes that will change those behaviors. Prioritize your efforts to implement these. You cannot entirely remake your personality. But you can change how you think of, perceive and act towards people.
You have to learn how to read people. You have to learn empathy. When you do you can be effective and can maximize your success. You can be a higher performance person.
Ch. 10: You say you coulda-been
FAILURE BEHAVIOR 10: WHEN NO JOB IS GOOD ENOUGH. You say you could have been on the top rung of any ladder, if you had wanted to. You want great achievement and you want it now. Right now - not one step at a time. You believe things should come easily - or not at all. You have little time and no patience for doing the work you need to do to get to the top. It's not that you're lazy - it's just that doing such work would mean you're not already there.
The truth is, you feel you are not good enough for any job. Hypersensitive to embarrassment, you are so afraid of your feelings of shame and failure should you try but not make it to the top that you are unable to start. Alternatively you will try but with very little exertion on your part and less preparation. If you do succeed, it looks effortless. If you fail, your defense is that you did OK for such little effort. It feels better to stand at the foot of the ladder and tell yourself and others that you could have made it to the top if you had wanted to - that you 'coulda-been ...'
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM:
You want to begin at the top. Gradually mastering a body of expertise first is, to you, tiresome and irrelevant. To let anybody see that you need to learn would be to show how inadequate you feel you are, to lose face. So you pretend to know all that you need. You expect your whole life to be perfect and in trying to achieve that you forever procrastinate. In baseball terms you never pick up the bat, never step up to the plate, never take a swing. You don't bat - so you can't strike out. But you tell those around you that you could have hit it out of the park if you wanted to. You coulda been ...
See your work paralysis. You do not start projects or you regularly move on to other jobs. See your pattern of risk-avoidance. You never take risks. You decline any opportunity that has any degree of risk. You're left-behind and desperately lost. A most unhappy wanderer - drifting from job to job.
FIX THE PROBLEM:
You were pushed too hard, too far, too early in childhood to be better than you are and that you can possibly be. As if raised almost as a domestic pet, trained to do tricks that reflected well on your parents if performed well and embarrassed them if not. In so doing you learned that to fail brought shame but success only brought a demand to do better yet. Consequently you grew to be an intractable risk-avoider, driven by shame.
You need to find - and work with - a qualified counselor who knows psychology and is skilled in psychotherapy until you can think in terms of a good-enough - not perfect - job that will move you in the direction you want to go. Not the direction your parents or peers or neighbors want you to go.
When you finally come to think in terms of work that will be good enough, you can, with help, identify a field you enjoy and in which you can excel. Whether or not it impresses your parents or others. When you do, you can be effective, can maximize your success and can be a higher performance person.
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