I got an interesting and worth sharing e-mail today. It’s about leadership myths and I guess it would help a lot one in defining what leadership truly means. There’s no author mentioned but I guess there would be someone who has written this before. Emphasis here by the way belong to the author.
8 Leadership Myths
It is unfortunate that many managers today fail to understand the role that leadership plays in the execution of their roles and responsibilities. Over the years, I have read over 300 definitions of leadership. There are hundreds of books available on leadership and numerous seminars are held each year professing to teach people how to lead. And yet, many managers fail to grasp the importance of this critical attitude. (I have chosen to call leadership an attitude rather than a skill).
I would like to talk about what leadership isn’t or what I call the eight biggest leadership myths. If you are operating with any of these as your philosophy or fundamental approach to leaderhsip you might want to take another look at how you are leading or think you are leading. If you are not guilty of embracing any of the eight, congratulations, you are obviously well ahead of your management peers. Here are the eight:
1. Position or title does not equate to leadership. Just because you may be the CEO, President or a department head does not mean you have leadership attitudes or ability. There are a lof of people running organizations today whom I would not classify as good or even acceptable leaders.
2. Tenure or longevity does not equate to effective leadership capabilities. Just because you may have been with your organization for over thirty years does not mean you are an effective leader. Any success you might have had could have been timing, luck, pure effort, will or any combination of these.
3. You have to be willing to do any task that any of your employess are asked to do. Sure if the floor is dirty and the janitor is sick and not at work, someone needs to sweep the floor, but is that really your responsibility – to show your employees that you are not above this task. Your employees want a leader they can respect and trust not a back-up for the janitorial staff.
4. Leadership is an endowment or an education process. Leadership trust, respect and confidence are earned and not a set of mastered skill sets.
5. You can study your way to effective leadership. You can read all of the books on leadership and unless you are willing to let go of some of your beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, opinions or paradigms you can have all of the leadership knowledge in the world and still fail as a leader. Just look around you! This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study leadership but it does mean that study is not enough, it takes wisdom, understanding and execution.
6. You have to be a senior citizen with gray hair to be an effective leader. I know many executives who are still in their twenties and are model leaders.
7. That to be a leader, you have to be in charge of something or someone. Leadership is not position. You can be the receptionist and have leadership attitude about your roles and responsibilities. You can be in sales and have a leadership mindset about your tasks.
8. To lead you have to have followers. Leadership does not imply that you have to be in front of a group. If you are the only person working in a department, you can still demonstrate leadership attitudes.
Personally, of this, what I want to emphasize is this line:
Leadership... takes wisdom, understanding and execution.
I have personally believed in this – leaderhsip isn’t learned overnight. It takes wisdom to see what lies behind and what lies ahead of something. You need to understand the repercussion of every action and what does this bring not only to the organization/group/company one is leading and whatever execution you may do, it reflects well your leadership attitude.