the lesson. Spend some time in self-reflection. This process is
important and will repeat itself throughout every career.
➤ Keep it general. Comments about age, marginalization,
and frustration with the political process have little to do with
an SSAO personally. They are the modus operandi of previous generations, and Gen Xers must learn how to deal with
them. In many cases, when individuals make statements about
age, they are not intended as personal attacks. Competence
overcomes many forms of marginalization; negative responses
play into the perception of inexperience. Taking comments
personally creates a needless emotional drain.
➤ Pay attention to process and product. Gen Xers
tend to focus on creating a final product rather than engaging in a process. At times, the process can be time consuming, emotionally and politically draining, and complicated
by polarizing opinions. High-achieving Gen Xers may view
process as a waste of time and elect to push forward without
consensus. They must realize it is not process versus product,
it is process and product. Do not view these two functions as
separate: It is not necessary to sacrifice one to accomplish the
other. Put energy into developing the process, and the product
will largely take care of itself. Many individuals have won
small battles in organizations and achieved organizational success, but they have lost the war and harmed their professional
careers through their lack of understanding of shared governance, which speaks to the critical nature of the process.
➤ Listen. Gen Xers often sit around the table with Baby
Boomers, who have their own way of processing and making
decisions. Instead of demonstrating frustration and tuning
them out, Gen Xers must be mindful that members of the
Baby Boomer generation mentored and guided them and
provided professional opportunities. Continue to seek the
invaluable advice and insight that can only come from years
of experience. Relationship building is key to effectiveness and
often begins with listening.
➤ What got you here won’t get you there. Marshall
Goldsmith, author of the bestselling book What Got You Here
Won’t Get You There (Hyperion, 2007), suggests that a handful
of destructive habits often keep successful people from making
the next big leap forward in their careers. When individuals
experience success on the job, their self-esteem and confidence
increases. As a result, they may begin to adopt a handful of
beliefs about themselves that may not necessarily be true.
For example, they may begin to believe that they are more
responsible for their success than they actually are and that
their value to an organization is much higher than it actually
is. Remain grounded in reality, and avoid the temptation to
enhance your own reputation and self worth. LE
Ainsley Carry is vice president for student affairs at Auburn University.
Brian O. Hemphill is vice president for student affairs and enrollment
management at Northern Illinois University.
Contributing panelists include: Kevin Rome, vice chancellor for student
affairs, North Carolina Central University; Kent Smith, vice president for
student affairs, Ohio University; Luoluo Hong, vice chancellor for student
affairs, University of Hawai’i at Hilo ; and Patrick Day, vice chancellor for
student affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston.
Twenty Habits That Can
Sidetrack Your Career
Marshall Goldsmith offers twenty destructive workplace
habits, which apply to all generations.
1. WINNING TOO MUCH: the need to win at all costs and in
all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s
totally beside the point.
2. ADDING TOO MUCH VALUE: the overwhelming desire to
add two cents to every discussion.
3. PASSING JUDGMENT: the need to rate others and impose
standards on them.
4. MAKING DESTRUCTIVE COMMENTS: the needless sarcasms and cutting remarks thought to be sharp and witty.
5. STARTING WITH “NO,” “BUT,” OR “HOWEVER”: the
overuse of these negative qualifiers that secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”
6. TELLING THE WORLD HOW SMART WE ARE: the need
to tell people your intelligence exceeds theirs.
7. SPEAKING WHEN ANGRY: using emotional volatility as a
8. NEGATIVITY, OR “LET ME EXPLAIN WHY THAT WON’T
WORK”: the need to share negative thoughts even when feedback is not solicited.
9. WITHHOLDING INFORMATION: the refusal to share information to maintain an advantage over others.
10. FAILING TO GIVE PROPER RECOGNITION: the inability
to praise and reward.
11. CLAIMING UNDESERVED CREDIT: the most annoying
way to overestimate a personal contribution to any success.
12. MAKING EXCUSES: the need to reposition annoying
behavior as a permanent fixture and be excused for it.
13. CLINGING TO THE PAST: the need to deflect blame
onto events and people from the past; a subset of blaming
14. PLAYING FAVORITES: failing to see unfair treatment
15. REFUSING TO EXPRESS REGRET: the inability to take
responsibility for actions, admit mistakes, or recognize how
actions affect others.
16. NOT LISTENING: the most passive-aggressive form of
disrespect for colleagues.
17. FAILING TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE: the most basic
form of bad manners.
18. PUNISHING THE MESSENGER: the misguided need to
attack the innocent, who are usually trying to offer help.
19. PASSING THE BUCK: the need to blame everyone
20. AN EXCESSIVE NEED TO BE “ME”: presenting faults
as virtues and excuses for bad behavior.
Source: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith