Several years ago, I had a great leader, G. Lawrence “Larry” Spackman, that taught me a valuable lesson about complacency. He was very successful in everything he did and attributed his success to his strong drive and unrelenting desire to never back down when obtaining his goals.
When I was around Larry, he always stressed the importance of working hard and doing your very best. In addition to teaching correct principles, he lived what he taught. Because he was so driven, he despised complacency. He taught that complacency would keep you from reaching your dreams and goals. Larry taught me to avoid complacency at all cost. His example confirmed the validity of what he told me.
As a leader, don’t let yourself become satisfied with average performance. Never give less than your best effort because if you do, you will give way to complacency. Complacency is very destructive and has many negative side effects. There are three major side effects that come with a complacent attitude.
Complacency eliminates drive
I have seen many leaders that lose their drive towards the end of their career or just before a major transition in life. They become complacent and stop doing their very best. They also begin to have a lackluster attitude towards their work and the people around them. Those leaders lose their drive because they are already thinking about their next adventure in life.
In addition to ending your career or making a major transition in life, complacency can eliminate drive any time you start to become comfortable. Once you have been in a position for a year or two, it can be really easy to become comfortable and feel like you are in control. It is okay to be comfortable as long as the comfort doesn’t lead to complacency and a lack of drive.
Complacency removes opportunities for growth
When leaders adopt a complacent attitude, they stop stretching themselves. When opportunities for growth and advancement come along, complacent leaders think they are done growing. They feel they have learned all there is to learn. They may also feel that the phrase “growth opportunity” is code for “waste of my time.” This attitude comes from complacency which is very destructive for your progression.
Complacency limits your potential
The worst aspect of complacency is that it limits your potential as a leader and a person. Everyone is born with a huge potential. In order to obtain that potential, you must work hard to develop yourself. If you put forth the time and effort required, you will receive benefits that will enrich your life. When you adopt an attitude of complacency, it limits your potential.
There are many opposites to complacency such as drive, hard work, and motivation. If you find yourself growing complacent, identify what is causing your complacency and change how you do your work. In addition, you can add variety to what you do.
What negative effects have you seen come from complacency? How have you avoided the pitfalls of complacency? How do you fight the urge to become complacent? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!