In any contest, there's usually a prediction of who will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, the Monday morning quarterbacks start to look for the reasons success failed.

More often than not, finger pointing, blame and judgment are the cornerstones of the conversation. Here we look underneath the obvious to bring the invisible forces into focus.

If you are up for a promotion or valued position check to see how you rate on the following list.

Here are what intelligent people do that cause them to lose when they really want to win:

Don't read the situation in front of you: Too many times, your own bias will keep you from seeing and hearing what others are saying. Of course, you can only see the world through your own filters. That's what human beings do. However, the more you know about your biases, the better you can put your ear to the ground and hear those you tend to dismiss or disagree with.

No transparency: Telling the truth is key. If you have a bad cold, say it. Don't sneeze and say it's dust in the air. Say "hey I'm not contagious however, (ah choo) I'm fighting this change of weather cold." People will give you more credit for telling the truth. And in our leadership program, we always ask people to remember that telling the truth is not spilling your guts. It's just a short sentence to acknowledge what is happening.

Won't admit mistakes: This is a must from a first-person perspective. Not I'm sorry that you didn't like what I said. Better, what I said was inappropriate, or hurtful, or just plain dumb. No qualifiers either. These sentences that admit mistakes are short and not full of "because of" and "if only" thoughts. That makes the admission weak and often meaningless.

Unwilling to take the high road: Help others see the good that can come from what you are proposing. Rather than bash your opponents, acknowledge some part of what they are doing or suggesting that you agree with and can build upon. Give credit where it is due and offer your unique perspective on what else you can contribute.

Unable to paint the larger picture: Don't spend too much time with the details until you paint the larger picture of what you can, and what to do to make the situation better. People need to know you have a long-term view and will be able to help them climb the mountain with safety and security. Paint the big picture and then add the details, not the other way around.

Choose to be exclusive, not inclusive: Everyone matters and everything matters. Find a way to talk about the basic human needs, that can be fulfilled without being for one group and against others. The more you can connect with the deeper needs of people, you'll be successful. We all want to be heard and acknowledged. You'll then be a leader who can be trusted.

Search inside yourself and see where you fall short on these key areas of leadership Take time to ask others who know you how they would rank you on the five vital areas. Then decide if perhaps you would do well getting some objective coaching to help you make sure you are strong in each area. Being intelligent is not enough, being a leader means going deeper and sharpening your skills.

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