5 Ways Talented Leaders Sabotage Themselves

The worst enemy to have is yourself. Others may hold you back, but who can help when you sabotage yourself?

External enemies are easy compared to the accuser within.

external enemies are easy compared to the enemy within

Talented leaders sabotage their leadership when they:

#1. Take control. Leaders are control freaks, but influence requires permission. There’s a difference between taking control and being in control. Coercion works when people don’t feel in control.

The more control you take, the less influence you enjoy.

#2. Seize power. It easy for leaders with position to make others feel powerless. Power feels exciting. That’s why you want others to feel powerful.

The seduction of seizing power at the expense of others isolates leaders and dilutes influence. The more power you seize, the more power you need to seize.

In order to give power you must release power.

#3. Compete with team members. It’s easy to win at the expense of others when you control resources and raises. Step back, if you’re the leader, and let others win. When they win, you win.

Roaring lions go further than whipped puppies.

#4. Know more. Leaders who need to know more than others lead dumb teams.

Aspire to be dumb and learn from everyone.

#5. Limit choices. When others have expertise, go with their gut. You’re a fool if you believe your way is always the best way.

Repeat after me, “I could be wrong.” 

3 tips to ramp up leadership influence:

  1. Don’t allow your aspirational self to bully your actual self. The flaws you see in yourself limit your ability to appreciate your strengths.
  2. Practice improvisational leadership. The number one rule of improvisation is “go with – not against.” You might force your will on people, but you lose their hearts.
  3. Tell people your intentions. You have positive stories in your head. They wonder what you’re up to.

How do leaders sabotage themselves?

What behaviors enhance influence?