The 7 deadly sins leaders commit that hold them back

This Seven Deadly Sins is a group of vices within religious teachings that are known as excessive versions of one’s natural aptitudes. Though identified by desert fathers in the third century as passions one needed to overcome, these shortcomings have relevance in today’s work environment.

1. Pride that you are more capable than your employees

How gratifying is it to be dubbed ‘King Know-It-All’ when everybody hates your guts? When you make all the decisions and give continual directives it cuts off their independence and desire to take risks. Innovation suffers and disengagement grows. Hire good people and get out of their way.

2. Sloth in your dedication to develop your personal growth and that of your team

You develop projects but how often do you develop your emotional intelligence? When was the last time you asked an employee, ‘Where do you see yourself three years from now? What project would you like to develop?’ What mindful routines do you practice daily that keep you calm and confident?

3. Gluttony in your desire for perfection so that you look good, managing the perfect employees who develop flawless quality and stellar productivity metrics for your own kudos

Be vulnerable. Stop looking in the mirror and look your team members the eye. Are they worn out? Discouraged? Can you relate to them? Do they know you have been where they are? Do you care about them?

4. Lust after all the other managers who have superior people, more resources and better jobs

And fairies fly and prince charming is in everyone else’s house. Stop dreaming about other pastures. The grass is green right under your own feet. Own it.

5. Envy of leaders who have more power than you

True power comes from searching inside yourself to play to your own signature strengths. Don’t play to weaknesses or you’ll only be mediocre. We envy things we admire. What can you learn from the people you envy? Be a mindful observer without judgment. There is always a lesson in discord. Treat envy with curiosity.

6. Wrath to those who make mistakes

Getting even with someone who has hurt you is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. We forgive not for the other person but to free ourselves from oppression that develops into angry behavior and negative thoughts. Next time you see a child being scolded ask her how much she wants to help that parent do a chore.

7. Greed to have it all which leads to unrealistic expectations of yourself and your team

We live in a society that constantly reminds us we need to have “more.” More time, money, thin, young. That expectation is insatiable. Nothing is ever enough. When do you celebrate your successes? The shorter the distance between what you want and where you are, the happier you will be.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be more calm and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at