Stop This Terrible Habit You Don't Even Know You Have

How do I know you have it? Because I have it too. Most high-performers do.

It’s a sneaky little bugger, because on the surface it really feels like you’re doing the right thing. And on most levels you are. It’s a Winning Well core competency taken to extremes.

But if you go too far, the stress will crush your spirit and undermine your confidence. It’s one more way great managers lose their soul.

In an effort to know your vulnerabilities, to admit mistakes, to always look for ways to improve… it’s so easy to beat yourself up.

  • “What a stupid decision! I can’t believe I didn’t think through all the potential consequences.”
  • “Oh, I didn’t see that coming. I should have been better prepared.”
  • “If I’d only thought about the contingencies early on I could have saved my team a lot of angst and re-work.”
  • “I should have counted to 10 before I sent that email.”

If you’re thinking any of the above or something equally frustrating, I get it. You’re probably right. You made a mistake. You learned something. And you’ll do better next time.

Yes. Own the ugly. Apologize. Get creative and make it right. And then, move on.

Don’t hold a grudge.

Treat yourself with the same level of compassion
you would offer your team, your boss, or the people you love.

I’m writing this as much for me as for you.

When people ask me what’s the hardest part of running my own company, my answer is always the same. “I’m the hardest boss I’ve ever worked for.” And that’s saying something because I worked for some doozies.

Be the leader you want your boss to be… for yourself as well as everyone else. That includes a good dose of compassion every now and then.

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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.


  1. Karen,

    You said so much in so few words–and on such a needed subject. Love what you say here: “Treat yourself with the same level of compassion you would offer your team, your boss, or the people you love.”

    In my upcoming book, “The Second Question: How to Dramatically Increase Your Production and Income” for sales professionals, I share what I call my “WYSTTYBF” Test (pronounced like “Wistibiff?–it stands for “Would You Say That To Your Best Friend.” I tell clients (and myself) if the answer is “No” then identify what you would say and then say and apply that to self.”

    I read (almost) all your posts! Great insights for leadership and life.

    • Alan, Thanks so much! That’s a great approach. Just love it. “Would you say that to your best friend.” Thanks for sharing with our LGL community.

  2. Very informative post. Excellent thoughts indeed. Every executive must read and practice these ideas.
    I appreciate and value this very powerful statement which is more oftenly ignored.
    “Be the leader you want your boss to be… for yourself as well as everyone else”.
    Zafarmanzoor, Sr. Exec, Pakistan.

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