10 Common Misunderstandings about Leadership


By Morag Barrett on January 26, 2016

Posted by Morag Barrett | January 26, 201610 Common Misunderstandings about LeadershipLeadership is widely recognized as the most important activity in organizations today, and yet it also seems to be the one that is lacking the most. Why is that? How can something that tops the board as the most significant continue to fall short? It’s to do with how you think. If you don’t understand what leadership is, then you’ll never be effective as one.Here are ten common misunderstandings.If you’re in a leadership position, then you must be a leaderThis is among the top reasons why leadership fails. People assume because that is their role that that makes them a leader. But this is completely wrong. It’s not what you’re called that demonstrates it; it’s what you do. That means that you can be in the role, and still fail to act.You need to learn how to follow before you can be an effective leaderThis seems to be the mantra among those who want people to follow them. It’s simply not true. It’s like saying that you have to build a car before you can learn how to drive one. The two activities are unrelated. Some people make better leaders than followers, and vice versa. The key is do what you do best and to stop trying to be someone else.Leadership can’t be measuredThis is another myth. Nearly everything can be measured, but often it isn’t because a) those who wish to do so lack the skill or b) it’s too expensive to do. You have to decide if an accurate measurement is that important. Not everything is. But that also doesn’t mean that you don’t seek to improve it.Leaders can’t be expected to be managers as wellA hundred years ago, this might have been the case; but today, each is expected to do both. There aren’t enough people in organizations anymore to assign one responsibility to this person, and the other to another. But, it’s much more than that. The people who work for you don’t need close supervision, and that being the case, why would you want to do?There can be only one leaderThis is the mantra of someone who wants to be in charge. The truth is that you can have many leaders in an organization who are on exactly the same level. That’s because leadership follows the role. That’s not to say that if you’re in a leadership position then you automatically become a leader. Instead, it means that different leaders will be required for different areas of expertise. If you’re the expert, then you’ll be made a leader. If you’re not the expert, then someone junior to you may be the leader for that particular part of the project.You get to tell people what to doLeadership is not about telling others what to do. Instead it’s about doing something that others will want to help you do. Big difference. Just as in social media, you can be unfollowed just as fast as you are followed. If you give people a bona fide reason that’s absent of threats, then they’ll follow you.People will follow your every example.Some leaders are naïve enough to believe that others will follow their example, no matter what it is. That no longer happens. For example, if you’re working 12 hours per day in the hope that those you’re trying to lead will do the same, then you may find that your work area is rather quiet about a third of the time.You can stop workingTrue leaders make coffee for everyone; not just themselves. They shovel snow off the sidewalk, and mop the restrooms. They do what’s necessary and don’t pass the menial jobs onto others just because they think they’re above all that. And when others see that you’re willing to stoop to that level, then they know that you’re someone who’s worth following.True leaders make coffee for everyone; not just themselves #leadershipClick To TweetYou can’t be friends with those you want to lead.This myth has been hammered into people to such an extent that no one has bothered to question it. So let’s state it here once and for all: It’s a myth. The problem is not that friendships get in the way of proper respect; it’s that people don’t respect their friendships. They assume that it’s because you are their friend that you will do things for them that you won’t do for others. And the truth of the matter is that true friends don’t make those assumptions when there’s also a working relationship involved.You must be charismaticGreat leaders usually have charisma, but charisma by itself is a poor substitute for leadership. People may be attracted to you because of your charisma, but they’ll soon discover if there’s more to you or not. If you turn out to be a big bag of wind, then they will sail elsewhere.Related ArticlesTags »leadership development denver Share
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