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8 Ways to undermine your own influence: lessons from a multimillionaire businessman

Brandon Dawson is no ordinary business strategist. He has built and exited businesses for billions of dollars, and he is now helping executives worldwide achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals beyond their wildest dreams.

In his new book, ” author of “Nine-Figure Mindset: How to Go from Zero to Over $100 Million in Net Worth” Dawson shares his insights on how to achieve success and fulfillment in life and business. One of the key themes of the book is the importance of leadership. Dawson argues that leaders have a profound impact on the success of their organizations, and that they need to be mindful of the ways in which they can undermine their own influence.

In this article, we will explore eight ways that leaders can undermine their own influence. We will also discuss strategies for overcoming these challenges and becoming more effective leaders.

Influence is one of those underrated business skills that often separates successful leaders from non-successful leaders, but it’s not a skill you can learn in school. Influence is the ability to transform or change the opinion of others. So, what does it look like to build influence and become an influential leader? There are eight lessons you must learn as, not doing them, will undermine your full leadership potential and result in opportunity loss:1. NOT TAKING RADICAL RESPONSIBILITYWhen you’re a leader in a business, it’s crucial that you hold yourself accountable for the success of that business and strive to take responsibility for as much as you can. Your employees are doing a job that has been outlined by you and your leadership team, and if they aren’t succeeding in that role, responsibility from leadership is the only way performance can improve.  Now, I’m not saying you should own every single thing that may go wrong in your business — it’s more about recognizing the unique role you play in the organization and how your reception of problems affects your team. Never place blame on others if the responsibility is truly yours to fix an issue or respond to a challenge. Instead, acknowledge responsibility and lean on your team to execute the response. 2. NOT LEARNING ALL COMMUNICATION STYLESEvery person communicates in different ways, and every person on your team may not communicate in the same way that you do, which can lead to butting heads and unclear expectations. This is why it’s crucial to not only learn how to engage with various communication styles but speak those communication styles, too. When you can effectively communicate with every member of your team, you’ll be able to influence team-wide actions that will have a lasting impact on your business. 3. NOT PRACTICING POSITIVE REINFORCEMENTThe carrot-vs-stick mentality is, in my opinion, not effective for a growing business. Instead, all business leaders should lean into positive reinforcement to support their team and organization. By positively enforcing behavior or actions you want to see from your team, you’re presenting yourself as a positive leader who appreciates your team and recognizes hard work. This perception will ultimately lead to employees seeking out that positive reinforcement and repeating it down the line, increasing your influence.4. NOT BEING VERY INTENTIONAL ABOUT EVERY MEETINGDeath by meeting is alive, even as many businesses have moved to a remote or hybrid workforce. In fact, the remote and hybrid structure of teams may be increasing the number of meetings managers and leaders are holding in order to make up for lost in-person engagement. But, excessive meetings are preventing employees from doing their jobs effectively, and taking away valuable work time can contribute to feelings of frustration.  If you’re a meeting enthusiast, make sure you’re being incredibly intentional about meetings — who really needs to attend that meeting, what’s the shortest amount of time needed to complete your agenda items, and will this meeting take away from other important projects in progress at that time? Your employees will be thankful for the intentionality and will be more engaged in those shorter, less frequent meetings. 5. NOT EMPLOYING A VARIETY OF PERSPECTIVESPutting yourself in the shoes of others is a lesson you probably learned in childhood, but many adults lose sight of this important lesson as they develop opinions throughout their lives.  Having strong opinions is probably one of the most important qualities of a successful leader, but forcing those opinions on others or not understanding all angles before forming opinions is a potentially large pitfall. By taking the time to understand different perspectives on an issue or topic before taking a stance is an easy way to gain respect from your employees and build your influence. This shows them that your strong opinion is well-informed and that you’re open to different opinions. Even if your employees don’t agree, they will respect you nonetheless. 6. NOT REFRAMING YOUR BELIEFSYour beliefs should be one of the guiding principles of your business, but not everyone will automatically buy into your beliefs and direction right away. It takes time — and significant influence — to build that engagement with your employees. One way you can get your employees to adopt your beliefs as it relates to the business is to reframe them and meet your employees where they are. Now, this doesn’t mean completely changing  your beliefs for your employees — it means adjusting the delivery of beliefs. Reframing without losing sight of the core belief can be tricky, though, so as you’re looking for new ways to present your ideas, keep those central beliefs at the center and simply adjust the contextual information or how that information is presented.  A successful and influential leader will be able to adjust the communication of their beliefs to guide their colleagues or team and gain their support. 7. NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT EVERYTHING YOU SAY MATTERSWhen you’re in a leadership role, your employees, colleagues, and peers are constantly listening to and observing you, so everything you say really matters. Even a small comment can be perceived in several different ways by your employees, so it’s important to truly think before you speak and consider how a comment may be received by others. If people are listening and interpreting everything you say, it should be pretty obvious that you have influence, but if you abuse that power, respect and influence will decline, and employees won’t take you seriously. 8. NOT AVOIDING PERFECTIONISMA common misconception among new business leaders and owners is that they must strive for perfection. Perfect business plan, perfect teams, perfect products, and more. But, constantly looking toward perfection can make it harder to pivot or adjust when needed, and there will always — and I mean always — be something to improve.  I often tell business owners to not only not strive for perfection but to avoid it actively. This doesn’t mean completely neglecting your business, team, or product, but if there is growth and improvement, perfection doesn’t really matter. If you prioritize perfection yourself, that will trickle down to employees and create some potentially negative emotions about their jobs and their experience working for you. Leading by example is key, and aiming to be imperfect is a great way to show your employees that it’s okay to test, try, make mistakes, and learn. THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS IN BUSINESS CAN’T BE LEARNED IN SCHOOLI’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you don’t need to be the most highly-educated person in a room to be successful, and most of the lessons you’ll learn in business simply can’t and won’t be taught in a classroom. When it comes to influence, the development of this essential trait comes in all shapes and sizes, and variables like your team, your company, and your personality come into play significantly.  It takes time to build influence, but with some small adjustments to how you lead and interact with your colleagues, you can steer the ship with ease. 


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