How to stop bad habits from holding back your business

Businesses often fail not because they don’t follow the right formula; it’s because they don’t focus on what not to do. Those beneficial characteristics which can make CEO’s a success can also lead to their downfall. For example, excessive confidence and unchecked ambition make up a recipe for self-destruction.

According to a Science Direct publication, people’s deepest impulses become disinhibited when they achieve power. Everyone has an Achilles’ heel, but once business leaders obtain crucial responsibilities, what used to be a manageable shortcoming becomes a fatal flaw.

While facing down counterproductive habits can be a terrifying prospect, understanding them can help leaders avoid a crash and burn. The potential for such derailment isn’t limited to CEOs. From recent recruits to experienced managers, all team members can fall victim to their impulses. If they do, the consequences can be dire.

To identify and address these fatal flaws consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Seek unbiased feedback

It’d be easy if CEO’s already knew their weaknesses. Unfortunately, weak personality characteristics are often unconscious, and recognising them is a battle in and of itself. However, seeking feedback from fellow team members friends is a solid first step.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, for instance, employs a simple yet effective system for receiving constructive feedback. Both customers and employees can easily send messages to Johnson via email or telephone. Implementing a straightforward method such as this can not only prove accessibility, but also allow internal challenges to be identified and addressed.

  1. Conduct an ego check.

Sometimes, being a leader means believing in oneself to an egotistical degree. However, taken to the extreme, this perspective can cause a business to flatline. A study by the London School of Economic even found that excessive optimism hinders effective judgment. Optimists tend to overestimate their skills and believe they can turn a worthless business opportunity into a gold mine.

Instead, focusing on collaboration not only keeps a leader’s ego in check, but it also motivates team members to embrace a goal oriented mindset. One of an CEO’s greatest priorities is creating a culture that rewards employees who help their peers and those who reach out for help in the first place. Once CEO’s recognise the value each team member brings to their business, they’re less likely to make grandiose, irrational decisions.

  1. Set goals that fall between excessive ambition and conservatism.

Enlisting a team’s help does more than emphasise the value of collaboration – it also builds a strong defense against internal biases. When CEO’s establish high standards for themselves and those around them, it prevents the team from setting safe, risk-averse objectives.

The trick, though, is to keep these goals realistic. Elaborate plans with short deadlines will burn everyone out in no time, so creating ambitious yet realistic goals is an absolute must.

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