Four Behaviours That Undermine Your Power (1 Of 2)

Four behaviours

While discussing behaviours that undermine leaders’ authority with a client, the request was made if I would write about them. I will introduce the four behaviours – two in this post and two in the next.

At the start of a new year, normally we become pumped and all change seems possible.  But after a few weeks of conscious effort to create change, things do not seem like they are progressing.

You are putting in the time and effort although the benefit isn’t as obvious to you as it “should” be. Sometimes the lack of concrete evidence can trigger frustration when you hit a rough patch.

Frustration can cloud your reasoning and have you saying things that don’t align with your brand or your goals. It can be damaging to your reputation and potentially sabotage the goals you are so diligently working toward.

I have witnessed leaders at all levels slip into using these tactics. Some even make the news!

When you know better you have the opportunity to do better. Let’s take a look at the first two traps that you want to avoid.

What You Need To Give Up

To be successful and build a reputation that lives up to your personal brand standards you need to take 100% responsibility for everything you say and do. Even if you are in an environment where others are not, which can make it seem normal, you are still responsible for you.

The personal brand standards you have defined for yourself are the ones you want to measure yourself against, not what everyone else is doing. It is your reputation and it is worth protecting.

First two of the top four traps to avoid falling into…

#1 Using Excuses – People use excuses when they aren’t prepared to admit the truth. It is like telling a little white lie that robs you of your power.

When you stop making excuses and own what you did or didn’t do you build your confidence, credibility, and trust. You build it for you and those around you.

It could sound like this…

The excuse: You declare to your boss, “I just didn’t have enough time to complete the presentation. I didn’t ask my team because I thought I could do it myself. Besides, they already have lots on their plate. When I finally did ask there wasn’t enough time for me to have it completed for our meeting.”

Taking ownership: You say to your boss, “I didn’t complete the presentation for today. I realized it needed to be a team effort and I didn’t allow the others enough time to provide me with the information I needed. I will have a completed presentation for Monday by noon. When are you available on Monday afternoon to run through the presentation?”

Or this…

The excuse: You say to your trainer, “I really meant to get to the gym since we last met though I just didn’t have the time and the holidays threw me completely off track.”

Taking ownership: You say to your trainer, “I didn’t get to the gym over the holidays as I made family time my priority. I am now ready to get back on track and be more consistent. I already have my workouts scheduled in my calendar for the next two months.”

When you come from a place of taking responsibility for what you do or don’t do, say or don’t say it is more powerful. It is simple but not always easy.

Can you think of where you may not be taking full ownership of what you do? Are you fudging what you say because it feels a bit uncomfortable to be totally honest?

Always best to just come clean and own it. It builds confidence and trust.

#2 Blaming – You point the finger and blame when you aren’t ready to hold yourself accountable for the results you are getting in your life. When you blame others you diminish yourself by essentially saying you don’t have control. The truth is you always have control over you.

No one can make you do or feel anything, ultimately you decide. Ever get a two-year-old to do something they didn’t want to? In any situation, you either decide to give your power away by reacting to a situation or respond based on the person you are. You always have a choice.

For example…

Blaming: I was working with an executive MBA student and one of the areas we focused on was his attire, as he showed up for our first session in wrinkled jeans and a T-shirt. His goal was to pitch a business idea to investors. His reason for his appearance, “This is how everyone dresses.”

Taking Control: After defining his goals and his brand he got it. He showed up with a pressed collared shirt, well-fitted jeans, and a sports coat. It was a match for what he wanted to accomplish and helped him stand out in his current environment. He realized it wasn’t about what everyone else was doing. He needed to set his own standards to get what he wanted.


Blaming: A senior financial executive explodes, “I have told them, they don’t listen, they don’t do as I ask and they push me to the point I lose my temper. It’s not my fault.”

Taking control: Once he defined his brand and how he wanted to be known, he was able to consciously respond to situations.  The senior financial executive explains, “I am happy to go through the requirements of filling out your expense reports and when they are due. Any questions please call someone on my team or myself. If you are late submitting them by ten days, they become past due and you will be held responsible for your own expenses.”

Don’t take on what others don’t do. Set healthy boundaries. Take control by measuring yourself against your standards, not others.

Do you ever find yourself blaming a circumstance or person for your behaviour? Do you allow others to push your buttons? Do you have a clear idea of how you want to be known?

Always best to remember that you have options and are in control of what you do and say. No one can make you!

Taking 100% Responsibility

It starts by being honest with yourself. Don’t make stuff up. Speak from the heart. Own what you do and don’t do. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable as it can make all the difference in living your authentic brand.

What to do? Pay attention to where these two traps might be sneaking in on your conversations. If you know you are an excuse maker or a blamer ask someone you trust to call you on it so you can catch yourself and become more self-aware.


Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!


Are you interested in having a conversation to explore how you can define your personal brand and accelerate your growth as a leader, individually or as a team? Send an e-mail to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation.

Dorothy Lazovik

Dorothy is on a mission to shift the culture of organizations to people first! Supporting leaders in fulfilling their TO BE LIST to better deliver on their TO DO LIST. Doing the work impacts how leaders see themselves, the people they lead, the environment they create and the outcomes they achieve. Producing higher engagement, ownership and productivity. How would making a change like this elevate your business results?

Authentic Leaders Edge

Next Step

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