There are still many persistent myths about leadership, based on stereotypes about how a CEO should act or run a company. But from what we’ve seen in decades of training teams, leaders come in all styles and approaches –– and the best approaches are not always what people think. Here are common myths we encounter, and the actual reality for successful leadership.
Myth: Leaders need to be extroverted and charismatic to inspire their teams
Realty: While personality plays a role in strengths and style, true leaders know that leadership is not about them. Inspirational leaders become “other-focused” and consider the team’s needs, not just how they are perceived or if they are revered. Strong, successful leaders know that their own success comes only through fostering the success of others.
Myth: People in leadership roles are there because they are born leaders
Reality: Unless you are taking orders from a 2-year-old –– and sometimes it may feel that way –– no one gets to their position without maturing, evolving and, yes, even formal training to get to a leadership position. The more a leader puts into learning, the more successful they will be. That means that anyone can grow into being a true leader. To be effective as leaders, we need to learn and develop skills and behaviors in order to get the results we desire from our teams. The good news is, leadership is learnable.
Myth: Leaders need to always move at a fast pace
Reality: It’s true, our world sometimes demands fast decisions, quick replies to emails and an always-on mentality. At the same time, always taking this approach just isn’t sustainable, and it’s often not the best strategy. Leaders need to slow down, because people need it. As leadership guru Stephen Covey has said: “Efficiency with people is ineffective. With people, fast is slow and slow is fast.” We try to do more by rushing through things—but just cramming in more information ends up as rambling background noise. What gets lost when we speed up is clarity and precision. Better to take your time when it matters for what’s really important.
Myth: Good companies are successful because they don’t have major issues
Reality: Good companies have great leaders that are constantly solving problems. To the external world, a company that is firing on all cylinders may look like it’s smooth sailing. But inside the company, that means that there is a leader that is providing adjustments, fixing issues and making it look easy. From another perspective, if your job was that hassle-free, a robot could probably replace you. Your human ability to work through complexities is what is what provides value, and why great leaders will always be highly sought after.
At Living As A Leader, we offer a Leadership Development Series designed to produce leaders that can positively shape the cultural environment, reduce turnover and achieve crucial business initiatives. We do this by providing training, coaching and consulting with a focus on pragmatic communication tools for leaders at all levels of your organization.
For more information, contact Steph Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org