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Changing the behavior patterns that STOP YOU FROM GETTING AHEAD

is the expertise of our HELP SQUAD workplace issues expert DENISE Cooper, CEO/Founder Remarkable Leadership Lessons. In her guest post today, DENISE tells The BREAKUP Biz™:


I’ve had a long and varied career but I can tell you at 17 I had no clue how it would go -- and I certainly didn’t think my reputation would move me through 4 career transitions. In the last 15 years, we’ve come to know the post industrial age career would be re-defined. For most people, you’re facing 3 – 5 career changes. I contend it didn’t just start with the millennials.


In fact, over my 25+ year career I’ve studied the behavioral patterns that keep people from getting ahead and the team’s from succeeding. Everybody can learn how to change their behavior but few people find the will or courage to make the changes. Here’s 6 behaviors that may be getting in your way.

  1. Poor self-awareness - Tao Te Ching said it best “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power”. Becoming aware of your own behavior patterns, bias and emotional triggers is the first step in breaking them.

  2. Black and white thinking – I’ve worked with people who only saw the world as good or bad; achieving 100% or nothing -- or they evaluate others based on a long list of “should do’s”, wish you would do, not fair if you don’t do. They judge others based upon rational merits and those found lacking are discounted. Only perfection is good enough.

  3. Superwoman or superman - constantly trying to do too much and push too hard. People with this pattern of behavior want to “do it all.” “Super” people burn out others and believe they know best for everyone else. If you’re a manager, at some point you’ll burn out, or people around you begin to head for the exits. The saddest part is they can’t receive support and love from others. Often receiving help is seen as a weakness and after a while they feel like a victim, under appreciated and stressed out. Often times they are poor listeners and unfortunately the solution is to find a trusted voice to listen to.

  4. The peacekeeper avoids conflict at any cost. Unfortunately, conflict is part of getting to the best ideas, work and a part of change. I love this quote by Robert Townsend "A good manager doesn't try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people. If you're the boss and your people fight you openly when they think that you are wrong--that's healthy." Robert Townsend

  5. Perfect picture thinking can keep you from finding the right job, because no job is good enough. Your sights are set high, but the hard work and effort to do the work is seen as humiliating. You’ve got the résumé, education, background, etc., which means you’re already supposed to be there. The thought of striving and failing instills such fear that perfect picture often paralyzes. The perfect picture thinking keeps you looking in the rear view mirror. With an expectation of a life of perfection the thought of something less-than-perfect results is so awful, and striving to achieve gradual results so tiresome and irrelevant, everything is put on hold and procrastination becomes a way of life.

  6. Loose lips sink ships - For some the need to belong blurs their ability to set appropriate boundaries about what to share at the office and what stays at home. Brene’ Brown’s at the University of Texas and author of Daring Greatly talks about The Vault. She said “the vault” doesn’t just mean, “What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. What you share with me, I will hold in confidence,” although those are crucial too. Rather, it also means seeing that one respects not only my story, but the story of others in one’s life as well.

Success in the workplace means navigating all kinds of personalities and behaviors. The impact of these 6 behaviors can be devastating on your performance and the performance of your colleagues. For many the increased stress from either working with or embracing one of these 6 behaviors can cause illness.


To me what’s really ironic about these behaviors is I hear all the time from managers “soft skills don’t really matter.” Yet, these 6 “soft skills” have been proven to negatively impact the workplace, productivity and kill a career. For me it’s time for executives and human resources professionals to admit and do something about these issues at work.

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