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Get Out of Your Own Way at Work...And Help Others Do the Same: Conquer Self-Defeating Behavior on the Job Paperback – October 3, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
This follow-up to 1996's Get Out of Your Own Way diagnoses 40 business situations in which workers exhibit symptoms of self-defeating behavior, from "Not Being Able to Take No for an Answer" and "Being Competent but Out of Touch" to "Not Delegating" and "Assuming Others Understand You." Goulston's focus, however, is not on workplace effectiveness but on "earning self-esteem-and its twin sister, success." He devotes a chapter to each workplace issue: first, highlighting a case study that refers to a client from his consulting practice or, tangentially, to one of his hospital patients and, then, explaining how to remedy the behavior. In addition, each chapter is topped off with an aphoristic "Usable Insight" and a to-do list of "Action Steps." People are inclined to commit "hari-kari at work," Goulston says, because of "fearful aggression" and "fearful avoidance," two traits that he traces back to humans' "early-neural, unthinking, animal nature." While his insights are pedestrian-his advice can be boiled down to "be more self-aware"-the structure of the book makes it easy to cherry pick chapters that may apply to you.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Corporate consultant Mark Goulston, M.D., has helped Fortune 500 executives, managers, and line workers achieve success. Selected as one of America's top psychiatrists for 2004-2005, he writes "The Leading Edge" column for Fast Company /i> magazine, is an expert commentator, and co-authored Get Out of Your Own Way.
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Those who have read this book's predecessor, Get Our of Your Own Way, already know that Mark Goulston (who co-authored that book with Philip Goldberg) is an pragmatic empiricist who is eager to know what works...and doesn't...in the real world. He also wants to know why. Whereas in the previous book the focus is on how individuals can avoid or overcome self-defeating habits in general, the focus in this book has a wider scope: it is on how essentially the same principles can help individuals to avoid or overcome self-defeating habits in their workplace...and meanwhile also help associates to do so. They are also relevant to relationships with family members and personal friends.
Of course, the health of those relationships at work and elsewhere all depend on the health of one's relationship with one's self. That is why I selected the Wilde observation for the title of this review because it correctly stresses, as does Goulston throughout his book, the importance of positive a self-image and mindset, of behavior that is self-supporting rather than self-defeating. Pogo the Possum observed, "We have met the enemy and he is us." OK, but it can also be true that we can be our own best friend, not narcissist would but with humility as well as affection, respect, and trust. I think this is what Carl Rogers had in mind when suggesting that healthy people are comfortable residing in their own bodies. Not self-satisfied and smug, perhaps even arrogant, but comfortable.
In effect, Goulston is saying to his reader, "I am going to do everything humanly possible to explain everything you need to know to overcome your own defeatism. Then, I will help you to help others by sharing this information but also to encourage and support them as they eliminate their own self-defeating attitude and behavior.
Wisely, Goulston first discusses why people get in their own way. "It turns out that self-defeating behavior is closer to our reflexive, early-neural, unthinking animal nature than to our higher human, thoughtful nature." Disciplined thinking to make tough decisions really is very hard work. When encountering real or perceived threats, we frequently respond instinctively. More often than not when our attitude and/or behavior is -- or is perceived to be -- a threat to someone else, they will probably respond the same way. These are the ingredients for a confrontation that could have been avoided if (huge "if") we understand the causes and effects of 40 troublemakers. Goulston devotes a separate chapter to each. They range from procrastination to fear of failure. Directly or indirectly, all 40 can result in avoidable self-inflicted wounds of one kind or another.
Goulston immediately establishes a personal rapport with his reader and sustains it throughout the narrative, making effective use of direct address. He shares his no-nonsense thoughts, empathic feelings, and practical suggestions without getting in his reader's way. Because he examines so many issues, I presume to suggest that those who read this book first read it cover-to-cover, then double back and re-read passages that are directly relevant to their specific concerns, doubts, needs, and interests. More specifically, to each reader's current needs re (a) "conquering" causes of self-defeating attitude and behavior and/or (b) helping another - or others - to do so. For many leaders and managers, this may well be the most valuable self-help book they ever read. The key word is "self" as both change agent and beneficiary.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Robert Sutton's The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't and Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best...and Learn from the Worst, Sylvia Lafair's Don't Bring It to Work: Breaking the Family Patterns That Limit Success, and The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It co-authored by Christine Pearson and Christine Porath.
I was all the more disappointed when I opened this book.
Covering procrastination in 3 pages? come on.
Most of the other self-defeating behaviors do not get more room either.
highly superficial and unfortunately not worth the money.
The chapters are short enough to be read and "chewed on" in ten minutes. I have my clients read a chapter a day as part of their program. The book is essentially a guide to smart, healthy communications within the work environment. Through believable stories gleaned from familiar scenarios, Goulston shows how all too common habits trip us up.
I've found that clients who show resistance to the coaching dynamic fall under the charm of Goulston's straightforward talk. Many of these chapters have served as springboards for lively and effective coaching conversations.
I've not read the newest edition of this book; but for a penny, this book will get you at least a million in return!