Leadership is a popular topic in business, which means leadership myths abound. After all, a company cannot survive for very long without strong, consistent, visionary leadership providing direction to the team. Good leaders affect everything from big-picture growth to the daily details of operations. So, what constitutes good leadership? You may be surprised to learn that conventional thinking has shifted in the office environment. The following outmoded leadership mantras are counterproductive to building an effective, cohesive team. Being aware of these team-leading myths—and correcting them—can have considerable impact on your bottom line over time. How many of these leadership myths are still accepted as fact at your company?
Leadership Myth #1: A Leader Directs
While this statement is true to a certain degree, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This team-leading myth evokes the distant, hands-off approach that is increasingly seen as out of touch by the workforce of today. To define effective, well-rounded leadership, the sentence should read: A leader directs by encouraging active communication and engaging employees in coming up with solutions.
Leadership Myth #2: Strong Leaders Must Always Be Right
Being able to admit when you’re wrong shows those around you that you are not unreasonably rigid and are able to adjust your views when new information becomes available. Mistakes are part of the journey, and good leaders grow into great leaders by acknowledging mistakes and improving because of them. Infallibility is not a quality that defines effective leadership.
Infallibility is not a quality that defines effective leadership. Click To Tweet
Leadership Myth #3: Winning Leaders Motivate Through Fear
Using intimidation as a means for obtaining results is one of the fastest ways to lose the engagement of your staff. While you may have their full attention while you’re wildly gesticulating, issuing ultimatums, or otherwise creating emotional mayhem in the office, what you’re really doing is undermining your own authority by losing your employees’ respect. Instead, lead by example, with empathy.
Leadership Myth #4: Natural Leaders Command Attention
This leadership myth presupposes that leaders must be in the spotlight—getting or seeking attention—to operate effectively. In fact, effective leadership recognizes that the spotlight is best and most valuable when shared. Attention should naturally shift to various members of a well-balanced team as circumstances dictate to give each team member their moment to shine and have a unique impact on results.
Effective leadership recognizes that the spotlight is best and most valuable when shared. Click To Tweet
Leadership Myth #5: True Leaders Are Extroverts
This fallacy incorrectly assumes that only extroverts can be natural leaders. Some of the top names in tech, such as Bill Gates, Marissa Mayer, and Elon Musk (admitted introverts all), shoot that team-leading myth right out of orbit.
Leadership Myth #6: Legitimate Leaders Have a Certain Position or Job Title
Leadership is an attitude, not a specific position. Employees at any level within an organization can demonstrate leadership, and their efforts to provide guidance to their teams should be valued. The best, most effective companies help employees hone and grow those skills to turn budding leaders into the results-driving executives of tomorrow.
Want to be a more effective leader? Start by rejecting false assumptions about the true meaning of leadership. Everyone wins when leaders encourage, challenge, and acknowledge their team in the effort to motivate them to be the best they can be. Effective leaders seek balance, learning from and admitting their mistakes. They work hard while also delegating wisely, and they lead by example. So, what are you waiting for? The most important trait of an effective leader is the willingness to step up and try.
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