4 Leadership Myths to Avoid

Every so often, I revisit ideas on the conventional perceptions of leadership, and it never fails that traditional, yet outdated ideas about leadership are still at work inside some organizations. Seems like the status quo continues to survive, even during a pandemic.

However, as we know, times have changed irrevocably. More people are working from home and some organizations have gone completely remote, which has shifted the role of leaders within companies in a dramatic way.

To me, leadership needs to be authentic, adaptable, vulnerable, and suited to the present needs and times that we are living in. 

Even during our ever-changing environment, I still see strong evidence that supports that the old-school style of “command and control” leadership still exists. There are numerous studies that validate that people leave companies if their leaders choose to lead this way, so why is this still an issue in our modern times?

Let’s get with the times and give our people what they need – positive, inspiring leadership that enables our people to thrive and grow, bringing the best version of themselves, no matter what the circumstances are.

Myth #1: Leaders Are Born, Not Made

While there are some inherent qualities that a person can have that makes them naturally more “leader like”, time and effort is still required to develop the skills and abilities necessary to be a good leader.

It all starts with attitude and mindset. For example, qualities like emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and the ability to listen actively, are more important than natural charisma or a “take-charge” attitude.

Some leaders exude a natural ability to lead and often, it is because that person has paid focused attention to their strengths and weaknesses and continually does so. In other words, they walk the talk every day and throughout their career.

Myth #2: Leaders Have all the Answers

If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I talk a lot about what leadership is and what behaviors exhibit leadership. A very simple explanation is that leadership is not about rank, title, or role. It is a way of being, and with this myth, having all the answers is not realistic for anyone.  It is very much about creating a collaborative work environment where everyone feels safe to bring their personal best.

As a leader you are not expected to come up with all the answers or ideas on your own. It is a collaborative effort, and it is your role to create an innovative and interactive environment where people can think and perform at their best.

Myth #3: Leadership is All About the Bottom Line

On the surface, this myth may be true but how it is executed requires different thinking and a novel approach. At the end of the day, leaders need to ensure that their organizations succeed but when one focuses too much on results, they can become disconnected from the people who make things happen.

Leadership is about building trusting, supportive relationships, and about empowering others. That is why soft skills are critical and bottom-line results are achieved by building up people, not breaking them down. And that means working with everyone, on an individual basis, allowing them to be their best, through respectful collaboration. This is what makes the difference between high-performing organizations and those that struggle to deliver desired goals and objectives.

Myth #4: Leaders Speak. You Listen.

Effective communication should be a top-down priority. Sadly, as I mentioned in my last blog, many leaders believe the flow of communication is a one-way street, and nothing gets done that way. Most often, what happens is confusion reigns. Employees must either work in ambiguity or constantly be returning to the leader to get clarity on the job-at-hand. And guess what that does? It creates more work, and re-work, which is a big waste of time. 

When communication is encouraged to flow in all directions within a company, great things happen, like improved performance, happier employees, and customers, and yes, the bottom line can get a boost as well.

How Are Leadership Myths Affecting You?

I have just scratched the surface with these four common leadership myths. There are many more out there that could be preventing your company from achieving success. My advice is to get ahead of them and be proactive before they take hold and wreak havoc across the organization.

Have you noticed old status quo leadership myths in your company? How are they impacting you, and how have you worked to overcome them?

I would love to hear your story, so please send an email to joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.855.871.3374.

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