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The Virginia Engineer's Guest Articles

The Five Destructive Behaviors That Can Ruin Your Business

June, 2007

The Five Destructive Behaviors That Can Ruin Your Business
By Don Schmincke

For over seven hundred years, samurai warriors sought to discover principles for extraordinary leadership in a highly competitive environment. Today’s business leaders are on a similar quest, seeking the “truths” of leadership that will propel their organizations to the top. But while many modern leadership teachers focus on structure, processes, and procedures, the ancient samurais focused on the inner journey of enlightenment that drove them to achieve. Unfortunately, today’s business schools, consultants, and books fail to venture into the human essence so vital for true leadership.

As a result, many leaders have developed bad habits-or destructive behaviors-that are slowly eroding their companies. While they may think they’re acting like true leaders, they’re really undermining their own leadership efforts and perpetuating the notion of selfishness, arrogance, and greed.

Interestingly, the same destructive behaviors that ruined many samurai careers also ruin the modern executive’s business career. Here are five destructive behaviors to watch out for.

1. Lack of Bravery

While it may be easy to identify someone of integrity simply by their ordinary, everyday conduct, it is not so easy to single out the bold one in stable times. After all, anyone is a good captain in a calm sea. But the brave leader is most valuable in times of corporate crisis or when innovation is essential to keep enemies at bay.

In a business setting, lack of bravery shows itself as being a “yes” person-one who tells others only what they want to hear, or withholds the truth that desperately needs to be told, or fails to confront violations of accountability. Lack of bravery means not taking risks, not pursuing professional development, and not staying true to the company’s princi