Here are certain misconceptions about leadership. We present these ten leadership myths before you hoping that you will understand what leadership is all about and also ensure that you muster the skills required to be a great leader.
Leaders are born and not made- This is probably the most common myth about leadership. Some people may have certain inborn leading capabilities; however the fact is that leaders are made. They are made probably by their environment, education and experience. Leadership skills can be learned, and gained. Anyone can excel in anything if they put their mind into it. Hence leadership is not a genetic disposition. Leaders are made and not born.
Leadership is all about position- Leadership is not about sitting on top of a pyramid. Leadership is not about hitting the hierarchical summit in an organization. Leadership is not about positions and titles. Leadership is not a throne which one occupies by virtue of seniority or heredity.
Leaders are few and rare–Leaders are everywhere in classrooms, schools, offices, organizations and elsewhere. However, the traits of leadership that one possesses will be of varying degree. Since leadership is not a title or position game anyone can come up with their leadership as the situation or occasion demands. However, people with extraordinary great leadership are few and rare.
Great leaders are extroverts- Earlier rarely did we see articles that speak about introvert personalities and leadership going together. However, a relook at the concept tells you something different. Introverts generally like working alone, loves quietness, are prudent, listen actively and manage uncertainties. Being an introvert or an extrovert determines how one recharges. Introverts recharge all on their own while extroverts recharge by being with others. There are no studies that suggest recharging one way or the other makes you a better leader. Warren Buffet, Bill gates and many high performing CEOs are introverts.
Leaders possess absolute power- Leadership is not a manipulative game to come to power, attain power and express your power. Leadership is not about being the powerful in the midst of umpteen timid people. Leadership is not about capturing a position and there after commanding and controlling people to reach out to you and do things in accordance with your whims and fancies. Leadership is not about using your authority and people to protect your position or title.
Leaders work smarter and not harder- Success is a result of preparation and hard work. Leaders are known for their perseverance to reach out to the vision. Leaders are just not people who are idea makers, they are people who execute or implement the idea by putting in a lot of hard work. Leaders coach, motivate and mentor their team to create commitment and competency amongst them for great success. Leaders know very well that there is no smart elevator which takes them to the floor of success, but the walk to the floor of success is really a hard work, one step at a time through the stairs of challenges.
Leaders are charismatic and popular- Leadership is not a popularity contest. A good leader is not glitterati. A leader is never distracted by the spot light or limelight. They are visionaries and their life is focused on that vision. They are never bothered as to whether the focus falls on them. Leaders are action and results oriented and are bang on target. They are deed oriented and not at all concerned about their popularity. However, as a spin off effect of their success and value addition to society, they turn popular.
Leaders want to have followers- The fact is the other way. Leaders are great followers. In fact they are great followers of their vision. Also great leaders are not creators of followers. Leaders create leaders who are visionaries. Hence, leadership is not about creating a centralized power personality around whom a world of followers revolve.
Leaders treat everyone the same way- People are never the same; they have different perceptions, talents and capabilities. Hence, giving the same treatment to a population so diversewould be really unfair. Hence leaders try and derive the insight of the people, their talent, their passion, their goals etc. Based on the insight gathered, these leaders delegate work and motivate them in a way which appeals to them.
Leadership comes with age- We do not have to wait to be a leader. Leadership never calls for an experience. Leadership is situational and is dependent on our ability to make use of our logics and emotions, whether our brain is old or new. Leadership has got more to do with expertise than experience. Young innovators beyond doubt are great leaders who add a lot of value in this world.