3 Things That Will Undermine Your Influence as a Leader

  1. Hypocrisy. Very few people would actually call themselves a hypocrite. And if you do, and you haven't done anything about it, then you have bigger problems. But for the rest of us, being a hypocrite can be a silent killer of influence. As a leader, you are always being watched. Always. Fair or unfair, it's the truth. And as a leader, it is your responsibility to steward your actions well. What do I mean by that? If you communicate to your teammates that you are for them, then you need to show it. It's not enough to talk about it. You know the saying, actions speak louder than words? It applies in this situation. You need to verbally advocate for your team, publicly praise them, and create environments that help them grow in their giftedness. Similarly, if you tell people that you are available for them, then be available. This means answer the phone if they call. Respond to their email in a timely fashion. If you have an office with a door, try leaving it open once in awhile. When you don't do any of these things, even though you may tell someone you're available, your actions communicate that you have more important things to do.
  2. Blind Spots. We all have them. They are our shadow side. Simply put, our blind spots are the things we say and do that we don't see, but others do. These are your unintentional habits that offend people, or rub them the wrong way. This may be the reason that certain people in your life always seem to be frustrated with you and you can't figure out why. Our blind spots will never go away completely but if you don't want them to totally derail your leadership, you have to consistently invite people to speak honestly into your life. Ask them, What's it like to be on the other side of me?, or What do I need to know about me that you don't think I know? If you don't take an active role in understanding how others view you, you may be missing the very thing that will prevent you from moving forward as a leader.
  3. Pride. Or put another way, not being willing to compromise. Let's face it, no one is right all the time. If you want to lose friends and influence fast, be prideful. If you think you're right all the time, people will stop talking to you. Your team will no longer bring you new ideas and you will be left out of the ideation phase. Your pride will earn you the reputation as not being a team player. If you want to grow in influence, then you need to be open to other people's ideas, realize that you are not always right, and know that someone else may have a better way of doing it.