Over the years, I have observed a significant number of strong performers who were promoted into leadership roles, only to be demoted shortly afterward.

One of the reasons for their removal from these positions is the negative traits they exhibited to the teams they oversaw.

In an effort to assist those either being considered for a leadership role or wishing to maintain their position, I present to you the seven biggest influence killers.

1. Negative attitude

During my training sessions with new Service Desk agents, I would invite members of our support staff to introduce themselves.

“Tommy,” a recently promoted Team Lead, unfortunately left a negative impression on the trainees when he criticized one of my tips as “stupid.” This pessimistic outlook undermined his influence.

A leader with a negative attitude casts a shadow of doubt and dampens motivation, much like a dark cloud hanging over a team. Instead, we should aim to be leaders with a positive attitude, acting as rays of sunshine that dispel doubt and energize motivation.

2. Overconfidence

After criticizing my advice, Tommy offered his own, claiming it was superior. Trainees found his arrogance off-putting.

An overly confident leader can drown out the valuable contributions of others with their self-assuredness, like a one-man band. Instead, we should strive to be humble leaders who harmonize and amplify the contributions of every team member, like a conductor of an orchestra.:

3. Lack of Expertise

At the time Tommy met the training class, he had just been promoted. In contrast, the class was familiar with my extensive experience in training new Service Desk agents. Tommy’s inexperience was evident, weakening his influence.

A leader lacking expertise can hinder their team’s chances of success, much like a quarterback who can’t throw accurately. A good leader should be a knowledgeable student of their craft, enhancing their team’s chances of victory.

4. Lack of Empathy:

Before leaving the classroom, Tommy responded to a newbie’s question by calling it “dumb.” This insensitivity eroded his influence.

A leader lacking empathy leaves a gap in their ability to connect with and lead their team effectively, much like a puzzle missing a crucial piece. A compassionate leader, on the other hand, completes the puzzle, enabling effective leadership.

5. Inconsistent Behavior

“Beverly” was initially a great leader but started missing days due to personal issues. Her inconsistency eroded trust and influence.

An inconsistent leader creates unpredictable ups and downs in team morale and performance, much like a rollercoaster ride. Good leaders strive for consistency, providing a reliable path for their team’s growth and success.

6. Groupthink

“Roger” tried too hard to fit in with his team, eventually getting demoted. Going along with the crowd can diminish individual influence.

A leader who follows groupthink is like a driver without a map, led wherever the crowd goes. Good leaders foster independent thinking, guiding their team purposefully.

7. Overloading with information:

Early in my training career, I rushed through material, overwhelming agents. Those who felt overloaded didn’t respect me as a leader.

Providing too much information can lead to confusion and hinder persuasion, much like a torrential downpour. A good leader provides concise and relevant information, refreshing and nourishing the team without overwhelming them.


Leaders must improve their ability to influence others by avoiding negative attitudes, overconfidence, knowledge gaps, apathy, inconsistency, groupthink, and information overload.

Instead, strive to exhibit optimism, humility, wisdom, compassion, and consistency. Foster independent thinking and provide concise, relevant information to your teams.

Leadership is influence, and failing to improve in these areas negatively impacts your ability to lead effectively.

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