7 Ways You’re Unconsciously Undermining Yourself

By: Jim Bruce
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The Tuesday Reading today is 7 Ways You’re Unconsciously Undermining Yourself.  The essay was written by Gwen Moran for FastCompany.com.  Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites.  She is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans.

There are things we all do that undermine ourselves, that make others think we’re not effective leaders.  And, all to often we are not aware of them.

Moran reminds us of seven areas that we might want to check ourselves on:

1.  You look like you’re not listening.  Leaders cannot afford to be poor listeners.  Do you check your phone while someone is speaking?  Stare into the distance?  Not follow the conversation?  Treating other people’s thoughts as unimportant erodes your influence.  And, you’re also missing valuable information.

2.  You don’t follow through on your promises. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, in their book Credibility, noted:  “When a leader makes promises, people instinctively do a credit check.  The last time this person made such a promise, was he being honest about it?”  So, be sure to pay attention to those promises, find a way to keep track of them.  Your integrity is on the line.

3.  You use the wrong tone of voice.  Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Glasgow found that in about the time it takes you to say “hello,” that is 30-50 milliseconds, many have sized up key aspects of your leadership abilities.  As we’ve said, a lot hangs on all aspects of your “presence.”

4.  You fidget too much.  Fidgeting can suggest that you’re nervous, uncomfortable, and not suited to the role of leader.

5.  Eye contact – too little, too much.  It’s essential to make eye contact to establish trust and exhibit confidence, but be careful to not overdo it.

6.  You are too self-confident.  Individuals with high levels of self-confidence often emerge as leaders and then are unable to keep their feelings of self-importance and lack of empathy in check.  The frequent result is loss of influence and being seen as exploitive and arrogant. 

7.  You’re everyone’s friend.  Leaders are often warm and accessible.  But, beware of becoming too friendly and accommodating.  Behave as a professional, be consistent and authentic and people will respond to you for that.

So, as you work your way through your week, take a close look at your behaviors.  Do you need a tune-up?

.  .  .  .   jim

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