It’s time to question these leadership myths that are damaging the workplace. By Priya Prakasan
While traditional leadership was based on a more command-and-control mode, people have discovered that doesn’t always work. In fact, it can be quite detrimental. What’s required is a more participative style of leadership. Good leaders often don’t give in to and question ‘prevailing wisdom’. So what are some of these leadership myths you should be questioning?
1. Leaders are born, not made
One of the biggest leadership lies people believe is that there are those who are born to lead and excel as leaders. They have a natural talent and affinity for this role. And then there are those who have to struggle and pretend. But the truth is that leadership is not an inherited trait, it is acquired through hard work, personal development, and experience, and polished over time. A talented person can become a great leader through the process of teaching, learning and observation. The leadership skills needed can be learned through training, perception and practice over time.
2. Leaders have all the answers
The secret to leadership is not having all the answers. A good leader displays curiosity and asks the right questions. They also know the right places to go looking for answers/solutions. Good leaders have a questioning mindset and encourage their employees to do the same, as that’s one way to get multiple perspectives on a given situation so as to find the best solution. Also, if the leader is providing all the answers then how will the employees grow?
3. The leader is always right
This is another myth that can backfire. Might does not make right. A leader cannot give in to a fear-based mentality and believe this. It is a fallacy that strong leadership is about being right all the time. In fact, good leaders know they’re not always right, and are glad when people correct them. They see it as an opportunity to learn. Also, if employees believe that their leader is always right, they will not build the necessary skills needed to succeed in navigating the challenges and transitions ahead.
4. Information should be shared on a need to know basis
This one’s all about control. Leaders tend to hoard information, as they don’t wish to relinquish control. It also helps them have all the answers and maintain a sense of superiority over the team. Neither of these are positive traits in a leader. Employees will stop will feel shut out and disheartened; a surefire way to get them to stop caring and zone out. So don’t be frugal, create an information sharing culture and encourage your workforce to be curious about the business and the different decision-making processes. The information will give them a better idea of how their work fits into the whole and help when it comes to finding solutions. It will also build trust and engagement with your trust.
5. Close supervision is necessary for results
It is only natural for leaders to monitor the performance of their team, but that does not mean that each and every task or project requires close supervision. If a leader follows the authoritarian leadership style, it can often hinder the productivity of the team. Avoid micromanaging. Instead, make sure your team has the right tools, training, and information needed and then show your trust by taking a step back.