Our actions and communications guide and influence all those around us, for better or worse. To succeed, we need to build and maintain an atmosphere for success.

Unfortunately, negative communication habits we pick up throughout our lives can ruin the atmosphere around us, limiting our potential for success and happiness.

Leadership experts like Marshall Goldsmith have dedicated their careers to helping people with problem habits and personality traits that sabotage their careers and lives. He offers practical and effective skills and ideas for self-improvement that can make real differences in our personal and professional relationships.

What You Can Stop Doing

Stop clinging to particular past events and using them as excuses today. You live in the present and the future, so you need to think and act accordingly. Learn to let the past go.

On a similar note, passing the blame to external factors or other people is just another way to avoid personal responsibility for our own actions or behavior. You need to own both your successes and your mistakes.

Are you playing favorites within your team or your friends?  This can be especially damaging because it creates rivalries and jealousy. You’re telling them that you believe some of them are worth less than others. You may have your own opinions, but don’t let them poison your group relationships.

What You Can Start Doing Better

If your behavior has hurt others, intentionally or unintentionally, the first thing you must do is apologize.  Make it clear you understand your actions had a negative effect on them and on your relationship with them. Most people are willing to forgive you if they see that you’re truly sorry for your actions.

Be sure to let people know that you’re trying to improve yourself, and follow up with them to get feedback on how you’re doing. Keep a close eye on your behavior – back up your words with actions to improve.

You don't need to become a saint. Reversing old habits with positive new ones can be difficult. Often doing nothing at all – ‘reaching neutral’ – is much easier and it can improve your relationships right away.

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