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Stop It! – Behaviors You Must Stop to Become a Leader

Stop It! – Leadership Series Blog #1 – Introduction

By: Becky E. Zook RN, BSN, MS

 Have you ever seen “The Bob Newhart Show,” a popular situation comedy in the 1970s where actor Bob Newhart played a psychologist in Chicago? The show follows the main character through hysterical interactions with his patients delivered in the “dead-pan” style made so famous by the stand-up comedian Bob Newhart. The patients had various types of neurosis and eccentric behaviors, and Bob provided counseling services to help them overcome their situations.

In one situation, a patient came to the office for counseling to help her overcome her fear of being buried alive in a box. The patient knows her fears are unfounded and sought care from several different providers. Ultimately, no one seemed to help the patient overcome her irrational thoughts. 

The patient enters the counseling office, and hilarity ensues. Please watch this clip from YouTube: Bob Newhart – Stop It – Coaching Conversation.

It seems every psychologist instructed the patient should do to overcome her fears; however, no one focused on what the patient should stop doing! Leadership programs are much like this; those sources tell us what we should do to become influential leaders. It is much less frequent to find leadership experts who focus on our behaviors and ask us to Stop It!

This leadership series titled “Stop It!” identifies organizational leader experts whose evidenced based writings center around behaviors we need to stop to be successful.

So, You Want to be a Leader?

Imagine it is a Monday morning, and you sit down at your desk, eager to learn the outcome of your interview for the manager position. You do fantastic work; all of your supervisors have said so! In fact, you’ve been awarded “Employee of the Month” 6 times in the last calendar year, so why wouldn’t you get the promotion?

Then the email arrives from Human Resources (HR). It’s the obligatory “Thank you, but we decided to go in a different direction…” email. You blink your eyes and read the email again. The promotion is going to someone else.

That’s it! You’re frustrated, angry, and hurt. You just don’t understand why can’t you seem to move ahead at work. You are a great employee, give your all to the company, and consistently get passed over for promotions. You just don’t know what to do!

Does this sound like you or someone you know? Perhaps, a successful team member, maybe even a team lead who just can’t seem to break the glass ceiling? You might search the internet and search for articles about landing a promotion. Most of these articles will recommend things like:

  • Document your accomplishments and leverage them to get a promotion
  • Dress for the position you want and not the position you have
  • Figure out your skills gaps and get additional training
  • Watch videos and TED talks about leadership behavior and emulate them
  • Be friendly and more pleasant
  • Be bold and ask for the promotion
  • Etc.

The recommendations read like a “to-do” list or a recipe for promotion. You think over your career and realize you already do all of these things, and you still get passed over. You decide the boss doesn’t like you, no one wants to help you grow in your career, and you begin looking for another job. Feeling dejected, you join the millions actively “quiet quitting” their jobs.

Behaviors Holding You Back

Many of us can identify with this scenario. But, there is a path out of frustration and into the leadership position you hope to achieve. All of the leadership development you’ve participated in helped you get to where you are today. If you genuinely want to take the next step and be a leader people actually want to follow, then you need to admit some hard truths about yourself.

How do you unlock these truths? Where can you find resources to help you in these situations? Who can you trust? This blog will highlight credible leadership authors and their “Stop It!” techniques for successful leaders. Join us and follow this leadership series as we examine behaviors ALL leaders need to stop doing now!

What do you think? What’s your experience with unsuccessful leaders? What common behaviors did you identify? Do you struggle in your leadership journey?

Reach out to us at to join the discussion. For a free Professional Development Consulting Services consultation, visit and send a note!


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