September 16, 2009 | | Comments 5
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It’s All a Matter of Perspective

Peter Druker, often called the Father of Modern Management, made the following observation, “We spend a lot of time teaching managers what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching them what to stop. Half the leaders I’ve met don’t need to learn what to do – they need to learn what to stop.” We simply need to adjust our perspective.

Keeping that in mind, an executive coach named Marshall Goldsmith wrote a book in 2007 called What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: 20 Workplace Habits You Need To Break. I recommend this book for your Fall reading list! It’s a chapter by chapter in-depth look at each of the 20 habits we should get rid of as we advance in workplace leadership. Goldsmith offers numerous stories from his own career and his executive coaching experiences to illustrate each habit and keep the content ‘moving along’.

Here is the list of 20 habits. Interestingly, they’re not reflective of a flaw in managerial skills. Nor do these habits reflect a shortcoming in intelligence or a personality flaw. All of them are indicative of challenges in interpersonal behavior. It may take reading the books’ descriptions to gain the right perspective and apply it to your own leadership skill mix, but here they are for your consideration:

  1. Winning too much
  2. Adding too much value
  3. Passing judgment
  4. Making destructive comments
  5. Starting with “No”, “But”, or “However”
  6. Telling the world how smart we are
  7. Speaking when angry
  8. “Let me explain why that won’t work…”
  9. Withholding information
  10. Failing to give proper recognition
  11. Claiming credit we don’t deserve
  12. Making excuses
  13. Clinging to the past
  14. Playing favorites
  15. Refusing to express regret
  16. Not listening
  17. Failing to express gratitude
  18. Punishing the messenger
  19. Passing the buck
  20. An excessive need to be “me”

Goldsmith, M. (2007). What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: 20 Workplace Habits You Need To Break. Hyperion: NYC.

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    Bonnie Clair About the Author: Bonnie Clair, MSN, RN currently works as Retention Project Manager at CoxHealth in Springfield, MO. Her clinical background includes nursing management, nursing education administration and neonatal flight team. Her bedside nursing experience is comprised of Med Surg, NeuroScience and 15 years in the NICU. She has facilitated development and implementation of a clinical ladder for staff RNs and worked on a steering committee to implement Shared Governance in her health system. Other recent projects include designating parking spaces close to the hospital for pregnant staff and organizing a bi-monthly reunion event for employees reaching their 90th day of employment. She is passionate about nurse retention and relevant nursing education. You may contact her at

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    1. Great things not do to…stopping things is a focus at Marena, it’s the only way we can move on to the really important things.

    2. What a great list! Making time to just take a step back whenever you feel agitated or annoyed seems to be key. When you have that space, you can more easily put things in perspective and examine how you may be contributing to the problem.

      Renee Ludwigs
      “Inspiring Healthcare Leaders to Renew Their Passion!”

    3. Bonnie Clair

      Thanks for your feedback Michael and Renee! I appreciate your thoughtful replies; it is always great for our readers to have additional perspectives!

    4. This is a great, thought provoking list. I am a bit stumped by the first two…

      Winning too much? Is that being too competative or ?

      Adding too much value? Not sure what to relate that to?

      Otherwise, I get it. Yeah! I do get it! Great points!


    5. Bonnie Clair

      Hi Sandy!
      According to Marshall Goldsmith, Winning Too Much refers to “the need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point” (p. 40). Adding Too Much Value is “the overwhelming desire to add our own two cents to every discussion” (p. 40).
      Hope that makes it a bit more clear!
      Thanks for your feedback!

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