What Not to Do (2)

We are continuing with the original line of inquiry from a previous post: fatal flaws or career ending mistakes I have observed in my coaching clients.

Number Two Error:  Over Functioning.

One client nearly tanked a career because she over functioned.  She developed the strategic skills needed for her senior position, but was a terminal micromanager of her people, needing to have her finger in every pie.  Result:

  1. Her people felt she didn’t trust them and were driven crazy by her (often) last minute meddling and call for changes.
  2. She was exhausted from working too many hours, and was less than stellar at the parts of her job only she could do.

To card carrying members of Control Freaks Anonymous everywhere and you know who you are: cut it out before you get sick or fired.  Marshall Goldsmith, in his very useful addition to the literature on the subject, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (Hyperion, 2007) calls this out as the second of twenty habits that keep people from progressing in their careers.  Dr. Goldsmith characterizes it as the need to “add too much value,” and describes the overwhelming desire to add ones twist to every single discussion.

Of course, successful people become successful by adding good ideas, finding great answers and staying with problems until the best possible outcome has been reached.  Habits that have made us successful are the hardest habits to break.  The key is learning when to trust others, even if they are doing it in a way that you might not.  Learn to recognize when something is good enough.  Just because it isn’t your way doesn’t mean it isn’t great.

Next time you want to add your two cents just because you have two cents try this:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Smile.
  3. Say “that’s very good” looking thoughtful and impressed. Keep smiling.
  4. SHUT UP and walk away.

The shutting up part is the hardest, but I guarantee the sky won’t fall.  Try it and let me know how you do.

More on over functioning next week.   You know who you are.

One thought on “What Not to Do (2)

  1. I’m sorry…I wanted to tell you I really liked this post, but decided to SHUT UP instead. Ha Ha. Here it is, weeks later, but I wanted to return to the blog to say that I’ve really been working to break this habit since reading when you first posted it. And, yep, you’re right. The sky has NOT fallen. Wow. Very cool.

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