Following are James Waldroop’s 12 Achilles’ heels, along with short descriptions of them and some ways to begin grappling with them.
Acrophobe: Never feels good enough.
- Stop the damage.
- Prioritize and think about how to let yourself succeed.
- Buy yourself time to grow into a job.
- Act “as if” you belong. Acting “as if” will start to make you feel naturally more comfortable in reality. Once you’ve mastered the act, you will have convinced yourself.
Meritocrat: Thinks the world should be black and white. Resents that the world demands negotiation and the selling of ideas. If something is “right,” that should be enough.
- Plan influence campaigns.
- Think seriously about who the voters are and work to convince them.
- Don’t worry, be crappy. Don’t be a perfectionist, just go for it.
Hero: Pushes hard and does too much. Causes others to burn out and is destructive within an organization, leaving behind him a trail of “dead bodies,” or coworkers who couldn’t keep up with the pace.
- Ask, “Do you want to be a commando or a general?”
- Look behind you for damage. Look carefully at metrics and turnover. How many dead bodies have you left in your trail?
- Get perspective — how many other cars are in the parking lot when you leave work at night?
Peacekeeper: Always avoids conflict. Not a peacemaker, but someone who fears change and prevents innovation.
- Acknowledge the benefits of conflict.
- Use role-playing to make yourself more comfortable with conflict.
- Practice “normalizing” relationships after conflict. Don’t be afraid of that process.
Bulldozer: Runs roughshod over others. Managers often praise their willingness to knock down walls to get things done — despite the coworkers on the other side of those walls.
- Learn the DEW (Distant Early Warning) signs that you are about to blow up.
- Learn to say you are sorry — and mean it.
Rebel: Always looking for a cause that doesn’t exist.
- Acknowledge that you are not Che Guevara — you are more like James Dean.
- Ask yourself why you are doing something. What is the real cause?
Home-run Hitter: Swings for the fence and has unrealistic ambitions. Always disappointed at failures, but would have more successes if she could settle for a few singles.
- Recognize the culture of “speed kills.”
- You can’t start lifting weights at 500 lbs.
- Think about growth and harvest times. Successful growth takes time.
Pessimist: Always on the down side and is defensive and risk-averse. Thinks she is defending the organization when, in truth, she stagnates it.
- Examine the downside of not acting.
- You may feel comfortable, but not changing can be just as dangerous as necessary change.
- Make others sound the alarm. Take that responsibility off your own shoulders.
Mr. Spock: Emotionally tone-deaf.
- Learn to think about how others feel. You may never be as emotional as your coworkers, but it is important to take their feelings into consideration.
The Coulda-been: Thinks that no job is ever good enough and that life is full of near misses.
- Think “good enough” not “great.”
- Divorce yourself from the expectations of others.
Loose Lips: No sense of boundaries. Always talking out of turn. Lets things slip.
- Pay close attention to an organization’s culture before you join.
- You will succeed more easily in a company that has fuzzy lines of appropriateness.
- Be sensitive about differences. Others may not feel as comfortable hearing what you are comfortable telling.
Lost Path: Work is without meaning. Lost passion about a job, but stays on without energy.
- Think want, not should or can.
- Don’t blame dissatisfaction on your organization. You will not be cured by migration.
- Get to the root of your problem at your present job.
- Get in touch with your imagination and with your dreams.