“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
So said American statesman, diplomat and sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams, and scholar, author and organizational consultant Warren Bennis, respectively. There are countless trains of thought on leadership – and myriad leadership myths that influence how you conduct yourself in the workplace and beyond. Foster a strong leadership culture at your company by avoiding these debunked myths:
Leaders must be extroverts.
Good leadership comes in many shapes, sizes and personality types. In reality, introverts can make great leaders. Two of the key traits of introversion – active listening and quiet reflection – are critical components of sound decision making.
- It takes a good listener to gather stakeholder feedback and a critical thinker to link together common elements that result in new business opportunities. Businesses need both types of leaders.
- When a client or employee is unhappy, an introvert is more likely to listen in depth before rushing to judgment. This helps the person feel heard. Timely action is necessary, but it must be predicated by a well-thought-out response.
- Introverts possess skills that can make them excellent business leaders. In addition to critical thinking and listening, introverts tend to excel at problem-solving, outside-the-box thinking and written communication.
Leaders need to know everything.
The best leaders understand they don’t know everything. They have a vision, a purpose and a sense of direction. But they continuously learn from others, value personal growth, and invest in themselves.
- Strong leaders have no problem admitting when they are wrong. They ask questions, learn from their mistakes, and find ways to achieve desired results. They never pretend to know it all.
- Today’s leaders need to be willing and able to tap into the skills and expertise of the smartest people around them. They seek first to understand. This enables them to not only sharpen their professional skill set, but also become more adept at handling confrontation and resolving conflict.
One leadership style fits all.
Leadership is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. A key aspect of a leader’s role is to adapt your style to get the most out of the people around you. And just as technical skills need to be constantly updated to stay relevant, so do leadership strategies and styles.
- As a person’s responsibilities grow, they must learn what motivates different types of people and adapt accordingly. “My way or the highway” is the antithesis of true leadership.