Leadership is probably one of the most talked about business concepts, but the least understood. At its core, leadership could be said to be about getting things done and helping people reach their potential.
Myth 1: Leaders are born not made
Many people use the phrase ‘Leaders are born, not made.’ However, while some may have an innate ability to lead, few possess all the leadership qualities they need right off. Most leaders need to do a bit of fine tuning to their leadership techniques in order to be effective.
Like most learned skills, learning to lead takes time, training, and lots of trial and error. One of the key ingredients that make people good leaders is the ability to care about others. A second ingredient is a sense of purpose, vision or mission. A good leader charts a course and provides direction to those they lead.
Myth 2: The person with the title, most rank or highest position is the leader
Just because someone has a fancy title, it does not make them a leader. True leadership is not based on position or rank. It is based on action, performance, ability and effectiveness. We all relate to working for those people who were placed in leadership roles who did more to demoralise and destroy the business than create a positive working environment.
True leaders often eventually work their way to the top. People naturally gravitate to those they respect and want to follow and work with. While some formal authority is usually needed, leaders are seldom limited by job descriptions, job titles or pointless rules and regulations. They have an ability to recognise a need and marshal the resources necessary to get the job done.
Myth 3: Effective leadership is based on control, coercion, and manipulation
Leadership is about the future, not the past. Joel Barker’s quote about leadership always strikes a chord: ‘A leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go to by yourself.’
Good leaders gain followers out of respect and their ability to get people to gel together to work toward a particular goal or vision. People follow because they can relate to the leader. A good leader helps people become better than they are. A good leader creates a work environment that attracts, keeps and motivates its workforce. Good leaders rule through co-operation, not fear.
How do the leaders in your organisation measure up? Do they exhibit the characteristics and competencies that are most important internally? 360 feedback can be a powerful tool to measure how effectively your leaders are leading. Download our free white paper Why Use 360 Feedback? for more insight into the benefits your organisation could achieve through implementing a 360 feedback process.