The 4 Most Common Leadership Myths
Every employer wants to hire professionals with leadership skills, but few people can define true leadership. It doesn’t mean belonging to the C-suite or excelling at public speaking (although those can play into being a leader).
In fact, there are many myths about leadership floating around. We’ve dispelled the four most common.
1. Only Managers Can Lead
It’s easy to assume you need at least one direct report to be a leader. But leadership is about inspiring people and helping them meet a common goal—and you definitely don’t need to supervise anyone to accomplish that.
If you’re a non-manager, seek to lead others indirectly, by setting a positive example, and directly, by making yourself a resource for support and advice.
2. Leaders Control the Group
Leaders are typically portrayed as loud and fairly aggressive. However, being a quiet leader can often be just as (if not more) effective.
Imagine you’re in a room full of people collaborating on a project. One type of leader will try to assert themselves by declaring their opinions and running the discussion. Another type will sit back, let everyone share their thoughts, and then offer a thoughtful analysis.
Both styles can work, but it’s usually easier for the latter to win the team’s confidence.
3. Leaders Get the Glory
Do bosses exist to make their employees better, or vice versa? Leaders tend to believe their responsibility is to enable those below them rather than the other way around.
What does that mean in practice? If you notice that a team member always responds to your emails by walking over to your desk and giving you answers in person, you’d ask, “Do you prefer face-to-face meetings? Should we adapt our communication methods to suit that?”
In addition, you might ask the people who work for you how to make their lives easier. This question might be unexpected coming from the top down—it’s usually going in the other direction. Nonetheless, showing your reports that you’re invested in their success is hugely powerful.
4. Leaders Are Never in the Dark
People look to their leaders for answers—but that doesn’t mean you need to have all of them. On the contrary, it can be enormously valuable to reveal your ignorance or confusion to your coworkers. Being a leader doesn’t mean you’ve gained omniscience. Once you’ve said, “I don’t know,” they’ll see it’s okay to make mistakes or not have the answers themselves. Not only will they feel more comfortable, but you’ll also become more relatable.
Of course, there’s a right and a wrong way to say you’re in the dark. Make it clear you don’t have the answer right now—but that you’ll look into it.
For example, you might say, “I’m not sure what the results were last quarter. I’ll send an email to Sarah right now and will let you know as soon as she replies.”
Anyone can be a leader with the right approach. It requires putting others’ needs above your own, seeking to elevate your coworkers rather than yourself, and admitting when you’re wrong or unsure. In other words, it’s not a glory-filled position—but it’s still incredibly rewarding.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the seventh consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is now the 15th largest IT staffing firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 25 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit www.sigconsult.com.