Successful leaders often sabotage themselves through more or less subtle behaviors they fail to recognize as detrimental. The need to win every argument, the tendency to withhold information from perceived rivals, and the compulsive need to add value to everything are detrimental behaviors. Leadership coaching can help leaders recognize and rectify these behaviors.

Even the best leaders can find themselves hamstrung by less-than-optimal behaviors. The habits that hold successful leaders back aren’t born of skill or intelligence deficiencies, as leaders who have tasted success have already proven their mettle on that front. Behaviors that degrade leadership don’t stem from personality flaws either.

Leadership coaching can trace such problems back to slip-ups in interpersonal behavior. Successful leaders are more likely to fall victim to these deficiencies, as they believe what got them from point A to point B will also get them from B to C.

interpersonal behavior

Interpersonal behaviors hold the key to continued leadership improvement. 

Successful leaders are confident in their abilities. They know what works and what doesn’t. Leadership coaching values humility as it allows successful leaders to realize that what got them to one point won’t get them to another. Flaws in interpersonal skills can be subtle and almost impossible to pinpoint without professional help.

Executive coaching uses 360-degree surveys coupled with anonymity to ensure relevance and to uncover subtle problems nibbling away at the quality of leadership. I advocate such surveys and have made them available in my executive coaching books.

Over the years, through 360-degree surveys and direct interaction, I have identified a set of negative leadership habits affecting interpersonal relationships that can be widespread and at the root of most of the woes successful leaders experience.

The Need to Provide Value

Successful leaders may rightfully feel they can add value to any discussion. Some may feel their successes oblige them to chime in on everything. They cannot suppress the desire and need to add their thoughts to every discussion. They see these thoughts as adding value.

The Need to Display Wit

Sounding witty often involves sarcasm and remarks that hurt others. Successful people may feel like their successes entitle them to display wit in ways that are detrimental to leadership.

Imposing Standards on Others

When you think you have the recipe for success, you may grow impatient with others, especially those you try to guide. You may find yourself passing judgment on such people and imposing your standards on them.

The Need to Emerge a Winner

Winning can be addictive. We all like to succeed at what we do, and when we prevail in a matter important to us, we experience the best feeling in the world. Some regularly crave this feeling and succumb to its addictiveness. Some leaders feel compulsive desires to win every argument, discussion, or undertaking they partake in.

The Need to Share Negativity

Successful leaders may be tempted to believe they understand the ins and outs of most challenges facing their workforce. When someone tries a new solution, they may have previous experience with that approach and know it might not work. Over time, they may grow accustomed to swatting away unconventional solutions and become experts at explaining why something won’t work.

Withholding Information


Secrecy destroys trust and degrades relationships.

Some leaders use their positions to secure “advantages” over others. They withhold information others could use to deny them opportunities or to make them appear as less competent. Such tactics are grossly counterproductive and hurt the interests of organizations.

Never Expressing Regret

Leaders who express regret appear vulnerable. Showing regret is akin to admitting mistakes. Distant, arrogant, and authoritarian leaders see leadership vulnerability as a weakness and liability. Business coaching, however, sees it as the most effective tool for building trust and empowering employees.

The good news is these bad leadership habits are easy to defeat. Business coaching can help leaders recognize whether their problems are emotional or rooted in information compulsion. Identification is the first and most important step toward rectifying these shortcomings.


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