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How to Undermine Your Credibility

Leaders like to think in terms of effectiveness, credibility, influence, and prowess. They focus on how to attain those qualities. Charting a pathway forward toward desired outcomes is logical and smart; however, it behooves us to remember what it might take to create the opposite of our desired result. 

Toward that end, here’s a shortlist of ideas about how to undermine your credibility and reduce your influence in almost every situation: 

  1. Be sure to prove you’re the smartest person in every room. Never defer to others’ views or expertise. Push out competing views and let your opinion shine most brightly every chance you can. Better yet, tell people how smart you are and prove it by sucking the oxygen out of any room with your brilliance.
  2. Ask for opinions without truly wanting them. Pretend to listen and ask questions without any concern for, or interest in, the answers. Smile when others offer their opinions, and then offer yours on top.
  3. Have a strong opinion about everything, including the weather, the upcoming score of the ballgame, and anything else you know little about. Be sure to be forceful and overly confident in your assertions. Be clear that there is virtually no topic you haven’t thought deeply about and have a view on. 
  4. Always have an add-on comment or suggestion regarding any project or deliverable that comes your way. Better yet, wait until a project is well-baked before asking for changes or making suggestions. Let your perfectionism shine by never acknowledging the quality of anyone else’s output before you put the finishing touches on it to make it great.  
  5. Tell people how great and how expert you are. Do so frequently and without any humility at all. Describe in detail your past successes and what you have learned from them. Be sure to underline the key points several times. Remember that you can never tell the stories about your successes too often. 

Sadly, it would be easy to add a dozen more items to this list from our experiences with self-important leaders. Keep in mind that any one of the items above will work its magic to undermine your influence and credibility in virtually any situation or with any group or audience. Now, please memorize the list and work hard to not replicate them in any form. Everyone around you will thank you for it. 

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