Ever wonder what makes a really good leader? Leadership is a regularly discussed concept but it is often poorly understood. Although some of the advice you encounter is likely to be sound, you shouldn’t take everything you hear at face value.
This topic is wrought with beliefs and ideas that are simply false. And these myths may be holding your career or company back from reaching its full potential.
10 Myths About Successful Leaders
So what are the most common myths that surround the topic of leadership? Check out this list to help you reset your preconceived notions about real leaders.
They’re Born That Way
Yes, some leaders have a natural inclination toward influence and authority, but great leaders gain their skills and position through hard work and dedication.
The myth that you either have what it takes or don’t simply isn’t true. Natural skills will only take you so far. It’s the dedication and practice that builds a true leader.
They Don’t Understand Hard Work
Understanding how to plan and prioritize tasks is a must, but that does not mean that leadership doesn’t involve hard work. A great leader knows how to delegate, but they also know that their success is dependent on their ability to commit and act as a contributing member of a team.
They Are All-Knowing
Some people believe that a leader should have all the answers – they don’t. The best leaders admit when their knowledge falls short and utilize the experience and know-how of their team to get the best results.
They Are Always Front and Center
At times, leaders are required to be in the spotlight and get into “performance mode.” However, this doesn’t mean that they never work behind the scenes or require time away from the action to reflect. Great leaders are ultimately concerned with the end result. That requires a level of focus that cannot be achieved without space.
They are Extroverts
Some leaders are extroverts and others are very much on the opposite end of the spectrum. Leadership abilities are found in a variety of people and everyone has to work in a way that is in harmony with their unique personality and style.
They Have a Title to Back Them Up
This is true in some cases, but not all of them. Leadership is not the result of a title or position. It is based on performance, ability, and drive.
They Are Controlling and Manipulative
The best leaders are not forceful with their team members. They know that people are the most productive when they can connect with their goals and vision.
Real leaders excel at motivating and influencing others to work toward a common destination.
They are Smarter or More Educated
Certificates, degrees and IQ tests are not indicative of good leader. Knowledge and intelligence is often a part of the package, but experience is the key.
Every leader you encounter today had to start somewhere, and that was usually at the bottom. Their experience on the front lines is where they begin to develop the skills and qualifications that they successfully employ in their leadership roles today.
They Consist of a Specific Gender
This belief typically skews in favor of men, but there are many reasons that women also make exceptional leaders.
A person’s gender does not determine their leadership abilities. Although there are a disproportionate number of men in positions of leadership, this has more to do with tradition and bias than a lack of skills on the women’s part.
They All Have Followers
Some of the most easily recognizable leaders have a large number of followers but not all of them have realized their vision with a group behind them.
Strategic leadership starts on the level of the individual. Someone that can’t drive on their own can’t pave the way for others to follow.
Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer who covers everything from HR to technology and leadership skills. She enjoys learning more about how to make leaders & businesses successful. She most recently worked with CMOE. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.