You’re the leader of your business.
Your state of mind and your beliefs will have an effect on your business for better or for worse. And if you have employees, you’re a role model whether you want to be or not. Your employees look to you to set the tone, to provide direction, and to be a mentor.
Knowing that, wouldn’t you want to make sure you aren’t your own worst enemy?
Here are five ways you are sabotaging yourself and your business. How many are you guilty of?
Lack of vision
Without a vision, you won’t be working toward a goal. You’ll just be drifting along wherever the wind blows you. That will bring your focus to the immediate at the expense of the long-term. You will also see roadblocks to success everywhere you look.
Every business needs a vision. It needs a goal that is compelling and bigger than the business is today. That vision is what lets you keep an eye on the long term and make decisions that get you closer to realizing it.
Create a vision and stick to it. When the inevitable challenge arises, evaluate how it fits into the big picture and give it the appropriate amount of attention.
Not thinking holistically
When faced with problems, too many managers look for someone or something to blame instead of looking for the root cause. This often results in a scapegoating that does nothing to actually solve the problem. At best, it results in a band-aid solution that goes after the symptom instead of the cause.
Your business is a living, breathing thing made up of living, breathing people. When problems arise, you need to look at the context as well as the content of the issue. This is where you will find the true fix to the problem.
As a bonus, the underlying issue that caused one problem likely is causing problems elsewhere in the business. Solve it once, fix a bunch of problems.
Lack of persistence
Do you give up as soon as your first idea doesn’t work? Are you satisfied with the first fix that comes to mind when confronted with a challenge? You’re guilty of not being thorough or persistent enough.
Your personal lack of persistence alone can be deadly to the business. But it gets worse. When employees see you not seeing things through or giving up quickly, what to you think they’re going to do? That is a recipe for disaster.
Sustaining a business is hard. People who don’t put in the work don’t win.
Don’t settle for the first thought you have. Test it, push on it, ask yourself how it could be better. Then try those things. Don’t decide something won’t work before you’ve tried every way, within reason, to accomplish the task. Sometimes things take time, care, and some tenacity to bear fruit.
Cynics are dissatisfied people who suspicious of others and expect the worst from every situation. They bring down the people around them and destroy morale. Cynicism perpetuates discontent and keeps the focus on what’s not working instead of how to fix it.
Its bad enough when you have a cynical employee, but if its coming from you the damage is immeasurably worse.
You need to recognize it in yourself and learn to curb it. You also need to become intolerant of it in your employees.
Everyone gets frustrated at times. You can’t let that frustration grow into full-blown cynicism. You need to change your mindset to assume the best in people (until proven otherwise). You need to channel dissatisfaction with the way things are into an effort to make them better.
Lack of engagement
You represent the company. If you aren’t engaged, it will be obvious to everyone – employees, customers, suppliers. Your lack of engagement will translate into a lack of interest on the part of people you need.
You certainly have had experiences with someone where you knew they were disconnected. It didn’t leave you with a great feeling about them, did it? When you’re not engaged, that’s how people feel about you and your business.
You can’t fake engagement. You have to be genuinely interested in being there and in the people you are dealing with.
If you can’t do that, you need to ask yourself why. Then make the changes you need to make so that you are engaged.
How to fix it
Fixing the behaviors I talked about here will take time. It took you decades to become the person you are. You won’t change that overnight. It will be an easier process if you have a trusted advisor you can lean on for help. This should be someone who knows you and cares about your success. Your spouse, close friend, mentor, therapist, or a coach would all be good choices.
Think about situations in the past where the behavior was a problem. Think about what you believed at the time, the decisions you made, and how you felt. Also, think about the outcome.
Then think about how you your beliefs, decisions, and feeling would change if you were exhibiting the new behaviors. This is an opportunity to rehearse the ‘good’ behavior.
You will gradually get better at recognizing when you are slipping into destructive patterns. This regonition is your opportunity to change course. This will be uncomfortable at first, but with some persistence a new habit will take hold.
Changing behaviors isn’t a one-time thing. This will require work every day. The payoff will be well worth it.