Karthik had done it again, exploding against his team because of a missed deadline - a situation that required close coaching, not a tantrum.
He knew he had overreacted. Worse, his team knew.
Tail between their legs, the team slipped out of the meeting, stung by the blows of language of Karthik.its explosion and were no more savvy for the experiment. One or two even thought about returning headhunter calls and ditching their mad boss.
Karthik's explosions had become legendary over the years, and he had already received many comments from them. topic. But he thought his temper was part of who he was - and maybe even the key to his success. After all, he has always delivered exceptional results. His accomplishments spoke for themselves.
Nonetheless, he had noticed that his meteoric career had failed in recent years. His new boss was not interested in his past performance, and no promotion seemed likely anytime soon. His boss told him that he needed to improve his leadership game - especially his "soft skills" - if he ever wanted to take it to the next level.
This is when Karthik emailed me. He had finally realized that his harsh behavior was blocking his career aspirations, but he didn't know how to face it. He knew he needed help and he was hoping my executive coaching would help him crack the code.
Fame breeds the power to choose
During my years as CFO at Microsoft, I have seen this situation on many times. And during my years as an executive coach, I have helped many stuck senior executives overcome the obstacle of unpleasant behavior and get back on the road to success.
One of the The first concepts I teach my clients is that a lack of awareness traps us in bad habits and patterns. But as we cultivate awareness, our eyes open to previously overlooked perspectives, revealings options for better behavior.
In other words, increased awareness leads to more perspectives, which leads to choice - the first step towards breaking unhealthy habits.
The game shooting technique
By borrowing a page from the playbook from the Stagen "Leadership Academy in Dallas, Texas, I teach my clients the practice of game shooting. Executive game shooting takes advantage of hindsight just as athletes adjust their performance after watching themselves on video.
Using a simple journal template, leaders record their observations of their bad behavior , pointing out what they were thinking, feeling and doing at the time. They also note what triggered them and what usual behaviors they fell into.
Then, dropping byLooking back to looking ahead, they detail how they will behave best the next time they are faced with a similar situation.
Over time, I have found that just like athletes need a coach to help them analyze their performance and improve, business leaders have also need the know-how of a qualified trainer to improve their game. A trained eye can perceive essential nuances that a newcomer filming in a game might not notice.
It's also essential to work with someone whose job it is to keep you on track. An experienced trainer is less likely than you to explain or overlook unhealthy behavior. Acting as a "responsible buddy," a good coach won't let you escape uncomfortable change.
The power of visualization
Visualizing better future performance is a powerful exercise. Professional athletes and other high achievers have used natural imaging and visualization techniques to achieve peak performance for generations. Think NBA players imagining themselves taking a free kick just seconds before physically shooting the ball or a golfer imagining the perfect 30-foot putt.
The effectiveness of visualization is also supported by scientific evidence. Recently, research conducted at Plymouth University (UK) showed that Mental imagery is more powerful than other types of thinking , and visualizing successful future performance keeps people motivated to achieve their goals.
It is encouraging to know that athletes, executives and virtually anyone can generate a chasustainable behavior change by repeatedly practicing positive images.
Breaking bad habits
Armed with a detailed recollection of bad behavior and a convincing view of stellar performances the next times, you are ready to take the cycle of bad habits. If you're like most humans, you'll stumble again. But the more you practice shooting games, the more proficient you will become and the better results you will achieve.
Here are the four steps you need to take to break a bad behavior habit:
- Pay attention to comments . If you aren't already receiving unsolicited feedback on areas that you need to improve, ask for it. I've learned that our self-perception overlaps about 80% with the way other people see us. That 20% difference is full of gold to be won.
- Be humble about the comments. It's easy to dismiss comments as uninformed or unintelligent, but you only get it wrong when you write coherent and structured observations of your behavior. Look closely at yourself in the mirror, take a deep breath, and decide to improve yourself.
- Be a student of your behavior. Write a regular journal about the instances you are not proud of. Write down your thoughts, feelings, actions, and what triggered you. Pay attention to the patterns over time so you can anticipate future pitfalls. Write down clear statements about how you will do better next time. And repeatedly visualize future successes.
- Hire a trusted coach or advisor. Change is difficult and you will need someone to support you through the process.An experienced executive coach is best, but you can call on a trusted colleague if they are sure to call you on the mat, provide ongoing feedback and support, and not let you off the hook. li>
Even the strongest leaders want to continually improve their game. Like world-class athletes, these leaders recognize their weaknesses and look forward to it. to face. They work tirelessly on their craft, dedicating hours and efforts to go from strong to superb.
They know that in high pressure environments explosions can occur and fault lines can surface. It's because no human is perfect. But with a solid track record and an experienced guide, anyone can break bad habits that stand in their way.