Apparently, one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the leadership philosophy is that it follows a one-size-fits-all approach. Every leader in every industry has his/her own character, personality, style, life goals, and other important aspects that defines him as a human being.
This is why it is important to talk about some major myths regarding leadership surrounding the corporate and social world. Also, aspiring millennials and entrepreneurs need to understand how to catch and deal with such misconceptions.
“Leaders need to work smarter, not harder”
“Work smarter, not harder”, is a common statement people use in almost every situation today. Literally speaking, it doesn’t make sense and isn’t applicable at all. Yes, prioritizing your tasks, delegating better, and planning your day for maximum efficiency and output is a smart move for any leader, but it is not the substitute for the immense work ethic they input to get the job done.
Great leaders are well-aware on how to empower their team, are strict on their time management, and shrewd in applying their past experiences to move forward and avoid the typical mistakes others tend to make in their roles. It would be easy to throw everything under clean smartness, but nothing ever is achieved without working hard.
Another perspective to understand is that true leaders lead by example, they are the first to enter the room and the last to leave. Hardworking leaders are purely engulfed in their vision, and show dedication to take their businesses to new heights while inspiring the same confidence and traits in their team members.
“Leaders are Mr. Know-it-all”
Knowing is great, but claiming to know everything is literally impossible. Rather, intelligent and mature leaders are well-aware of their own limitations. They affirm the fact that success is a team game and the one-man-army concept is absolute nonsense.
Doesn’t matter if you’re the managing director of a top IT firm, Lionel Messi in Football, or the highest ranked monk in Buddhism, you cannot claim to know everything in every situation. And the humbleness to always stay open for learning is what separates a great leader from the rest in the room.
In short, no leader can walk around boasting to know everything the universe has in store. Every person in the team has his/her own capability, learning capacity, and ability to complete tasks, while a team of diverse skill-set is what directs them to success.
Such leaders are constantly on the hunt to hire individuals of various expertise and land everyone on the same page to contribute as a unit. Being great listeners, leaders listen to comprehend the situation, not to simply reply.
These individuals are powerful icebreakers in countering this myth that leaders know everything, but they are smart enough to admit their loopholes and encourage the team members to provide their input in every possible situation.
“Top leaders are always in the limelight”
Understandably, being a leader you are expected to acquire the position as the main spokesperson at every forefront. But it is also important to associate that leadership comes in various forms. No one has to acquire any top position in a company to be considered a leader. Genuine leaders, whether they have an authoritative position at their disposal or not, are always humble, modest, willful, but fearless.
Instead of focusing on their rank or position in the organizational hierarchy, they are concerned about the results and direct all their focus on accomplishing their objectives.
There are many historic examples of great leaders who never preferred to work in the spotlight, yet revolutionized their particular fields and took their businesses to new heights.
In Good to Great, Jim Collins explains how great leaders leverage their egos for the bigger picture of establishing a great enterprise. Furthermore, Collins states that using their ego doesn’t mean they have no egos at all, but they channel their egoistic needs and ambitions to building a business as the foremost priority.
“Leaders are always ‘on’”
Although leaders do work hard and are mostly occupied, but people should understand that they too need time to think, strategize, improvise, and create. Just like devices are disconnected from the internet to give them a break, similarly, humans too need a break from their routine work.
In short, if leaders don’t disconnect, they cannot lead. Names like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, etc. are known to go for extended vacations in order to rewire their brains and connect with their self, vision, and ideas for the greater good. The thought of disconnecting from the corporate life is to find wisdom, strength, and connection with others, and most importantly, yourself.
Unfortunately, being a leader people always associate you with the grandest of things and a schedule all packed with never ending deliverables, meetings, and other activities. But smart leaders know how and when to turn themselves off, and also ask their employee to do so themselves.
“The best ones are born, not made”
Another major myth that makes the world perceive leaders as some sort of extraterrestrials with supernatural powers. In fact, this also undermines all the hard work and years of commitment and consistency put in accomplishing their goals.
On the contrary, leaders are made, not born. And they go with the same cognitive development as everyone else in the world, the only difference is the price they pay to achieve their goals.
People often assume that leadership is something that is genetically inherited by an individual. The myth states that either the person has charismatic traits or not. In fact, it’s the complete opposite, leaders make themselves and aren’t born natural leaders right from the mother’s womb.
“Leaders are extrovert”
The core of this myth is often related to the misconception on the definition of an introvert and extrovert. Normally, extroversion is mostly related with confident, talkative, and outgoing people, while introverts are often taken as shy and reserved.
Right to some extent, but that’s only a fraction of the story.
It doesn’t matter if a leader is an introvert or extrovert in nature, it’s not about the social interactions but how they process and leverage the connections and information in hand.
Extrovert leaders tend to get the job done by talking about the situation, gathering input and feedback from the stakeholders, and acquiring solutions in a vocal manner. While introvert leaders prefer working behind the curtain more as compared to an on-stage performance. They work in a discreet manner by processing ideas and resolving conflicts internally, and are quite cautious considering their position.
It is mostly seen that extrovert folks are more attracted towards the leadership positions, while their temptation to engage with others makes the job a lot easier. However, this doesn’t mean that introvert people cannot be great leaders. There are plenty of examples of introverts who have gone to become some of the most influential people in the 21st century such as Bill Gates, J.K Rowling, Mahatma Gandhi, Warren Buffet, to name a few.