Leadership is one of the most discussed topics in management. However, most leaders don’t speak much on this topic, since they are busy with their main responsibilities.
Many books and articles about leadership are often written by psychologists, consultants, and HR managers, i.e. the people who rarely have practical knowledge.
Maybe that is the reason why there are so many misconceptions about leadership these days.
Many myths discourage intelligent managers to stand up for themselves and take leadership roles.
So let’s look closer and throw light on the seven most popular mythological judgments about leadership:
1. Leadership is a Rare Gift Given at Birth
Far from the truth. It’s true that some people might be more charismatic, motivated, and thoughtful than others. But that doesn’t define them as “true” or “born” leaders. In fact, leadership is not an objective term.
We all define and perceive leadership differently, so whoever perceives leadership as a born trait is likely to have already incorporated this belief deep down in their subconscious mind.
2. A Leader Must Be Charismatic
Another common myth concerns the fact that great leaders must be charismatic. That’s wrong. A leader has to possess different critical qualities such as communication skills, self-motivation, confidence, optimism, and much more.
The charismatic trait is super useful to have. Yet this is something that tends to come with each leader’s personality.
Charisma is also subjective. Your charisma might be enjoyed only by a few of your employees. To be a leader, you need to focus on developing management skills, not charisma.
3. Effective Leadership is Based on Control and Persuasion
We can see control and persuasion everywhere around. Look at our governments, teachers, and even our parents.
Everyone tries to control something in one way or another. This control is often achieved through persuasion and manipulation.
Nevertheless, gaining the control through non-ethical means will never get you too far. Even if it will, it will not pay off as you may believe it will.
Considering these factors, assuming that effective leadership is based on control and manipulation is absurd. Yet, many attaining leaders are stuck with this belief, thinking that they need to improve their persuasion techniques in order to keep things under control.
That’s a myth, and you should eliminate it. A real leader manages their team with passion, patience, and by example.
4. A Leader Should Be a Person of High Rank or Status
Before enrolling in their leadership journey, many individuals get stuck at one of the following points: status, ranking, or power. If they don’t have that, leadership seems impossible.
“How can you be a leader if you don’t have any authority in the office?” Well, it’s simple.
Firstly, understand that leadership is a quality which when put into action is going to influence the dynamics of a team or organization.
Second, if you have what it takes, you can manifest your leadership qualities starting from tomorrow.
Don’t wait for your promotion. Be proactive and courageous.
5. Good Leaders Are Always More Educated
Education helps a lot. However, it depends on what type of education we’re talking about. To be a successful leader, you really don’t have to attend Harvard Business School.
In fact, self-development and proactive action-taking pay off ten times better than a traditional university.
These days, we can name dozens of highly successful individuals that dropped out of college. They are proof that formal, traditional education is never enough for attaining higher success.
You don’t need to have a degree in order to manage and lead people. You need a strong desire and drive, along with a strong mindset that always allows for growth and learning.
6. The Leader’s Always the One Ahead
“The leader must always lead the way” is inaccurate. A leader is supposed to watch out for his people, see where they step wrong, and eventually get involved by delivering useful solutions. It doesn’t really work the other way around.
As a leader, you need to offer great feedback to your team, and you need to closely analyze their performance. If you still haven’t heard about Servant Leadership, it’s time to find out.
7. Once a Leader, Always a Leader
Have you ever heard this saying? I did, countless times. It has always fascinated me how people can say different things without even trying them first.
As I’ve already mentioned, leadership is a complex skill that needs to be practiced on a consistent basis.
Whenever we stop practicing a skill, we become worse at it. Why? Because of the lack of practice. Well, it works the same with leadership.
These myths might be holding you back from achieving your full leadership potential. Considering that you’re aware of them now, don’t make the mistake of preserving these beliefs.
They’re wrong, and they won’t take you far as a leader anyway.
What Leadership Myths Should We Debunk?
If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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