There are numerous bogus impressions of what makes a leader good. Many individuals feel that it’s inherent in your DNA regardless of whether or not you are meant to wind up as a viable leader. Well, that school of thought is false. Leadership in today’s marketplaces is perhaps more challenging than it has ever been. Today’s leaders manage a complex mix of accountabilities from operations to finance to personnel.
The critical challenge for corporate leaders across industries is to generate not just managers and executives, but individuals capable of the kind of leadership required. Managers must be leaders as well, capable of attracting the best and the brightest, and motivating people to perform at the highest levels possible, even when against the odds. For organizations, one good step is to challenge the norm. When you disprove some myths about leadership, you will discover some truths about what leaders need – and don’t need to succeed. This article disproves the top leadership myths and gives the truth about them.
- Good leaders are born, not made:
The truth is that several people have a desire to lead, but that doesn’t necessarily make them good leaders. Being a good leader is a goal that one devotes their lifetime to. A widely held belief is that good leaders have an inherent set of attributes that makes them excel at leading. A lot of familiar qualities are: visionary, dynamic, fair, inspiring, courageous, and so on. These are all certainly qualities found in good leaders, but they hardly show the core of good leadership. These are the effect, not the cause – they are what you see when someone is leading effectively. Leadership is often sparked by someone looking into their organization, not being satisfied by what they see and committing to intervene to produce results that are possible, not predictable. Good leaders look to change the set outcome and change the future from what it would have otherwise been without them.
- Men lead better:
The truth is that one’s ability to lead is not dependent on gender. Women, in fact appear to be better at showing concern towards others – which is an important requirement for good leadership. An example of this is Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who is changing the culture of the corporation with her own example of brutal honesty and accountability in the wake of the Cobalt recall.
- Leaders have all the answers:
The truth is that good leaders step up to challenges even when they have no idea of what to do. At times, it may seem as though good leaders know some things – like the future and how to get where they want to go. Successful leaders commit to a goal even when they have no idea how to make it a reality. Getting a breakthrough in anything at all requires not just challenging known facts, but moving beyond them. This is the approach that gets unexpected results and achieving unpredictable things. However, only going beyond what is known cannot make a leader achieve what her and the team are aiming for. On one hand, you have the vision and on the other hand, the real life state of the company. A good leader is clear about both of them and knows that while her team aims for better performance, the decisions she makes are always informed by reality.
- All good leaders are extroverted:
What makes introverts and extroverts different is the way they unwind and recharge. Introverts do these alone, but extroverts have to be with others. There are no known facts that prove that one or the other makes you a better leader. If you can find ways to recharge regularly, in order not to burnout, then you’re good. The father of modern management – Peter Drucker worked with many industry leaders and the one thing he found in common among high performing CEOs was that none of them were extroverts.