Five Myths About Leadership

John Krautzel
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Myths about leadership can be pervasive, even among people in leadership positions. These misconceptions can inhibit performance and prevent you from developing the skills that are necessary for success. By developing an awareness of common myths, you can overcome pre-existing biases and become a more effective leader.

Leaders are All-Knowing

One of the most damaging myths surrounding people in leadership positions is that they know everything. When employees believe that company leaders have all the answers, they tend to be less forthcoming with suggestions and insights. As a result, the company misses out on valuable ideas from the people who have ground-level experience. When leaders believe that they should know everything, it can create unreasonable expectations and prevent them from taking advantage of their employees' knowledge. Great leaders lean on and learn from their employees, inspiring them to work in support of the company's mission and vision.

Leadership Can't be Learned

Many people, both in and out of leadership positions, assume that leaders are born, not made. While natural leaders do exist, many people rise to prominence as a result of their situation. They learn from on-the-ground experience and develop the necessary skills over time. When a company's employees believe that they can't grow into leaders, they may hesitate to pursue leadership opportunities.

Leaders Exist Only at the Top

While the most obvious leadership positions are at the top levels of corporate management, influential people often exist throughout an organization. In fact, leaders at lower levels are arguably more powerful because they have more contact with employees. Leaders can arise anywhere, even when they do not hold supervisory positions.

Leaders Never Delegate

For great leaders, the opposite is true. To be truly effective, people in leadership positions must be experts at delegation. They must trust in their employees to handle tasks and projects without constant supervision. In doing so, leaders have the time and energy to focus on higher-level tasks that benefit the company on a larger scale. Leaders who take on too many projects and responsibilities run the risk of burnout and ineffective performance.

Leaders Have Powerful Personalities

Many successful leaders are charismatic and larger than life, but it is not a requirement. Many leaders inspire people to follow them because of their record of hard work, excellent ideas and strong relationships — no matter what their personality. When quiet employees believe that they must be outgoing, gregarious and talkative to move into a leadership position, they may feel that it is an impossible goal. As a result, they will be less motivated and proactive in developing their leadership skills.

Common myths about leaders are pervasive and potentially damaging for businesses. By promoting awareness and encouraging development, you can inspire more employees to pursue leadership positions.

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