Great Questions to Ask to Change Annoying Behavior

Author: Marshall Goldsmith

Most of any leader's annoying habits and interpersonal flaws are rooted in information compulsion.change annoying behavior

Sharing and withholding are two sides of the same tarnished coin. For example, when you insist on adding more value, passing judgment, making destructive comments, announcing that you already know, or explaining why something won't work, you are compulsively sharing information-- convinced that you are making people smarter or inspiring them to do better, when you are more likely having the opposite effect. When you fail to give recognition, or claim credit you don't deserve, or refuse to apologize, or don't express your gratitude, you are withholding information.

Other annoying habits are rooted in a different compulsion--one that's centered on emotion. When you get angry, play favorites, or punish the messenger, you are succumbing to emotion-- and displaying it for all to see.

You either share information and emotion, or withhold them. It's good to share information that helps people and good to withhold information when it harms people (many secrets should be kept). The same goes for emotion: it's worth sharing sometimes, and other times, not worth it at all.

What Is Appropriate? When dealing with information or emotion, you need to consider if what you are sharing is appropriate. Appropriate information helps the other person; inappropriate information risks hurting someone. Discussing a rival company's good fortune can be positive if it gets your people to work harder, but it's inappropriate when it soils other people's reputations. Instruction is usually appropriate, to a point. It's the difference between someone giving you simple directions to their house and telling you every wrong turn you can make along the way. At some point, with too many red flags, you will get lost, confused, or wary of making the trip at all.

Emotion, too, must be shared appropriately.

For example, love is often an appropriate emotion, but even saying 'I love you' can be inappropriate if you employ it too often or at awkward moments. Conversely, anger can be a useful tool if you parse it out in small doses at opportune moments.

When sharing information or emotion, ask, 'Is this appropriate?' and 'How much should I convey?' Pause and pose these questions as guidelines for anything you do or say.

You can change your annoying behavior-- and your colleagues will notice.

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My newest book, MOJO, is a New York Times (advice), Wall Street Journal (business), USAToday (money) and Publisher's Weekly (non-fiction) best seller. It is now available online and at major bookstores.

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How to Find Your Mental Block that Causes You to Procrastinate

Author: Sharon Melnick


You tell yourself that you "really need to" do something to turn your situation around, and arewhy you procrastinate and finding your mental block baffled why you don't. Each day you do the same things and sink deeper into your stressful situation and personal misery.

The first step to taking action is knowing what your block is. One way you can start to get clarity is to set aside time to do the project that you know you've been needing to do. Write it into your calendar, protect the time, and have serious intent to carry it through. When it comes time to do it, notice what images come to your mind. You will have a mental picture that will reveal your block.

Read on so you can 'listen in over my shoulder' as I give you examples from the Strategy Sessions this week on how others got unblocked and started taking action.

1) A salesperson knew he needed to make more phone calls but couldn't even though he was close to being fired. When he imagined picking up the phone to call prospects, he expected a response of no interest because he had heard that so many times before.

His block was that he expected his efforts wouldn't work. So we wrote out a whole new script giving a valuable free benefit to the prospect right up front and compelling the prospect to schedule a follow up meeting. The next morning the salesman used the approach and made a hefty sale.

2) A middle manager at a big state agency needed to finish a high-visibility audit, but he couldn't get started. His blocks were self-doubt and self-centered thinking. He was worried that the final deliverable would be judged unfavorably and that the recommendations of the audit would be politically unpopular. We changed his focus so he saw the audit as an opportunity to clean up corruption in state agencies, help millions of state consumers get better rates, and protect the environment. He stopped making the project about what others would think about him and started making it about what he could contribute. He was immediately motivated to get started.

3) A woman investment banker wants work life balance but keeps staying late at the office. She knows she's not happy but didn't know what would make her happy. Her block was not knowing.

We identified that her priority is a successful relationship that leads to marriage. But she didn't know what her passions were; she didn't know how to meet high caliber men, and she didn't know how to have a successful courtship. So we started with an exercise that reconnected her with her longtime passion for education, which led to a smile! Then we made a plan to start getting on Boards of organizations in the educational reform field where lots of male investment bankers serve. She was ready to rock n' roll!

Tip: The first step to taking action is to know what is getting in the way of you doing what you know you should be doing.

Schedule a good block of time to do what you know you need to do on your calendar and then see what mental picture comes to your mind. That will give you a clue what your block is.

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