Robin Madell posted The Top 5 Myths About Leadership in the US News and World Report Money blog last October.
“The concept of great leadership is one of the most often discussed – and least understood – workplace topics. We may recognize certain people as exceptional leaders when we see them in action, yet have a difficult time pinpointing what it is that they do differently or better.
Adding to the confusion about what separates leaders from the pack are a number of prevailing misconceptions about which traits add to leadership prowess and which detract from it. Here are 10 myths about what it takes to truly lead:”
Then the myths are listed—here they are followed by my comment on them.
Myth: Leaders know it all. In a nutshell no leader can know it all. Good leaders know how to surround themselves with intelligent people who in combination know what it takes for an organization to succeed and then listens to them.
Myth: Leaders have to be liked. It is certainly possible for a leader to be effective and not be liked but it is much easier for a leader to be effective if they are liked. People are naturally more influenced by people they like. People trust those they like more than those they do not like. It may be possible for a leader to lead without being liked but it is much easier if they are liked.
Myth: Leaders are on found at the top. This is true. Leaders are found throughout organizations from the top to the bottom. Leaders have vision and influence others in positive ways no matter what their role.
Myth: Leaders must be extroverts. As Madell notes extroverts are more often attracted to leadership positions and can be more effective though it is not essential. Many very effective leaders throughout history have not been extroverts.
Myth: Leaders are born, not made. This is a more difficult concept. The debate continues to rage about how much we are formed by nature and how much by nurture. Some people have natural attributes that make them more likely to succeed as a leader including intelligence, savvy, likeability, and empathy. Even physical characteristics such as height and attractiveness can influence how effective a leader will be. It is true that anyone can work hard at being a good leader and can succeed. However some people, those we often call natural born leaders, have an easier time at being effective as leaders.
As with most “myths” these all contain a grain of truth. The challenge for those who do not fall within these myth definitions is to become effective leaders despite not having some of these attributes.
Robin Madell has spent more than two decades as a corporate writer, journalist and communications consultant on business, leadership, career, health, finance, technology and public-interest issues. She serves as a copywriter, speechwriter and ghostwriter for executives and entrepreneurs across diverse industries. Madell has interviewed more than 200 thought leaders around the globe, winning 20 awards for editorial excellence. She served on the board of directors of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association in New York and San Francisco. Madell is the author of “Surviving Your Thirties: Americans Talk About Life After 30” and co-author of “The Strong Principles: Career Success.” You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think?Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.