In Buddhism, there is said to be 108 defilements or unwholesome qualities of mind. To attain enlightenment, one must overcome all 108 defilements (temptations), a daunting task to be sure.

You might wonder how Buddhists came up with 108 defilements. In Tibetan Buddhist teachings, we experience everything through our six(6) senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and our consciousness. We experience the six senses in three ways, either negative, positive, or neutral, which makes 18 feelings. These 18 feelings can either be attached to pleasure or detached from pleasure making 36 passions. These 36 passions can be formed in the past, future or present making a total of 108 negative qualities or defilements of mind. In case you are interested, here is a list of the defilements.

This got me to wondering. What list of “defilements” or temptations must C-Suite leaders overcome to be “Leveled-Up?” In case you are not familiar with LevelUP™, this is a term The Bailey Group uses in Executive Coaching to describe a leader that is fully delivering on the outcomes expected of a C-Suite leader.

 Here is a list of some the qualities of a “Leveled-UP” C-Suite executive:

  • Thinking like a businessperson  
  • Thinking and acting strategically
  • Learning to delegate and trust subordinates
  • Holding direct reports accountable for results
  • Building a strong functional team capable of delivering results at a high level
  • Demonstrating sophisticated and courageous communication skills
  • Creating synergies across the organization and with peers

Given this list of qualities of Leveled-Up leaders, here is my “Top 10 list” of defilements (temptations) leaders must overcome to LevelUP™ (in no order):

  • Spending too much time working in vs. on the business
  • Not delegating appropriate work (particularly outcomes) to direct reports
  • Lack of clarity about business priorities and the value a C-Suite leader must deliver to the organization
  • Getting too much pleasure from acting like the smartest person in the room (even if you are)
  • Lacking the ability to ask good questions to draw out other’s perspectives (poor listening skills)
  • Not holding team members accountable for poor performance
  • Being slow to make decisions for fear of making a mistake.
  • Failing to act as a direct and courageous communicator, both up and down the organization
  • Not focusing adequate attention on designing, resourcing, and building a strong team
  • Not taking the time required to be a continuous learner

I am curious to get your feedback about my “Top 10” list. Send me an email at lbailey@thebaileygroup.com with your comments and additions and I will write a follow up blog with an updated list. In the meantime, it is clear to me that it will take several lifetimes to even begin to overcome my 108 defilements 😊!

You Worked Hard To Reach The Top

You Worked Hard To Reach The Top

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