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Increase Your Ability to Connect and Influence Others by Avoiding these 20 Interpersonal Habits

Since my early 20’s, I’ve come a long way in cultivating effective interpersonal skills considering the rough edges in my personality that had to be refined during my first few years of management. Fortunately, I had the support of great bosses, co-workers, and straight up friends to serve as a mirror. Their constructive feedback helped me to identify habits that weren't a reflection of my best self.
With that being said, I’ve recognized that several of the skills I learned and mastered during my corporate career need to be upgraded in order that I achieve the professional goals I've established for myself as an entrepreneur. From my mindset to my mojo, marketing and networking skills to going from promoting a personal brand to promoting a business brand, I’ve accepted this fact: what got me here won’t take me there.
This truth is the premise behind Executive Coach Marshall Goldsmith book entitled, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”. Listen to this 2-minute video by Goldsmith as he shares the importance of his premise.
His book’s targeted audience is successful people. We know how difficult it can be to get any of us to consider the possibility that what is working for us now won’t continue to work. Listen to this short video of Goldsmith discussing the importance of ongoing professional development.

Live and Work with the End in Mind
None of us are immune from the reality of the marketplace. And for this reason, we should strive to own our power to create sustainable success, regardless of how many career moves we make, by creating a personal development plan that helps guide us toward the ongoing development of skills, experiences and relationships that increase our ability to maintain sustainable success long-term.
 If you’re in your 20’s and 30’s, it’s never too early to think about the lifestyle you want to experience in your 50’s and over. And if you’re in your 40’s and above, it’s never too early to think about the lifestyle you want to live in your 70’s and above.Keeping the end in mind helps us to focus on what matters most in the now to create the future we want to experience.
Success is ALL about Our Ability to Connect
Because success is never created in a vacuum, we have so much to gain when we improve our interpersonal skills. People prefer to work and do business with people they know, like and trust. The development of effective interpersonal skills enable us to build diverse and supportive relationships. Who knows you is just as important as what you know. It’s smart of us to cultivate relationships before we need assistance or support from someone.
 In his book, What Got You Here Won’t Take You There, Goldsmith shares twenty of the most harmful habits in interpersonal relations. I share them in this article with the intention that you would use them as a checklist to gauge the effectiveness of your interpersonal habits and determine how to improve those critical to not only your present success but also those essential to your future success.
 20 Harmful Habits in Interpersonal Relations
  1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations.
  2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our 2 cents to every discussion.
  3. Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us witty.
  5. Starting with NO, BUT, HOWEVER: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone that I’m right and you’re wrong.
  6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
  7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
  9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to give praise and reward.
  11. Claiming credit that that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
  12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
  13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
  14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
  15. 15Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
  16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
  17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
  18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.
  19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
  20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
I found by reviewing this list, there are several habits on it that may have had a negative effect on the way a few audiences received and interacted with the information I shared during a speaking or training presentation and at meetings when I was pitching my services to companies.
Maya Angelou stated, “When you know better, you do better.” It is my plan to do better by reviewing this list regularly. So that I develop the mindfulness of interpersonal habits and how I can improve them to create in this chapter of my life, more meaning, happiness and success.
What about you? What was an insight that you gained from this article? Share your comments below.
Be a catalyst for positive change. Share this article with your network.
Author Bio: Jackie Capers Brown is the CEO of Grow Forward & Flourish, a training and development firm. She is an author, motivational speaker, trainer and mentor. Jackie’s presentation, Mood, Mindset & Employee Engagement for Business empowers business leaders and teams to take an inside-out approach to multiplying their talent to create and build an engaging workplace culture and sustainable success.
 Get a download copy of the list of habits here.
Source: © 2007 Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Page 40-41 Hyperion Books. Reprinted with permission.

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