Friday, September 12, 2008

Five Myths About Leadership

Myth #1: You need formal authority and control to be a leader

Myth-breaker: Absolute, BS. How the heck do you intend to lead an organization without knowing the people who will help you succeed? You need to keep your stethoscope on people’s pulse all the time. It is possible to have an inclusive atmosphere and yet succeed. In a leadership role, people look up to you because they see a fruitful end to a vision that they share with you. They need someone to make them better than they already are - YOU are the ‘Chosen One’!! Think about a top league sports-club, the coach is accountable for a win or loss, however, the best team that wins has a Leader among peers. A player that holds everyone’s attention on-court directs the team towards a win – that person need not even be the Captain of the team.

Myth #2: You need a degree from a TOP 10 college

Myth-breaker: Not true. Leadership qualities are best seen in situations where you are required to get into the front-line and experience things from a close range. You need the ability to see the big-picture and get there through daily chores. Respect, trust and confidence does not stem from degrees from B-Schools, they come from implementation and execution.

Myth #3: Longer tenure with an organization can get you into a leadership role

Myth-breaker: Would you like a hire the services of a carpenter to fix your plumbing issues? You wouldn’t, huh. Same case with leadership too, a million years in an organization will not land you a leadership role, even though you play golf with the CEO. You need to have the patience, talent, vision, a trust-worthy attitude, respect of your peers/managers for the work you do - you need to LEAD ! In case you still have managed to get into a leadership role because of your tenure – thank your stars!

Myth #4: You need to be popular among people to be their Leader

Myth-breaker: Leadership is not a ‘Popularity Contest’ where you get voted for appearances and smooth talk. Leaders need to take hard-decisions at times which could improve efficiencies & effectiveness of work. Taking these decisions might make the 'popularity-contest-winner' look like a very unpopular person. Leaders should not strive to become popular, but have enough wisdom to draw the line between being popular and running in the opposite direction.

Myth #5: Only extroverted people can become Leaders

Myth-breaker: Leadership is a ‘Personality Trait’ NOT a ‘Personality Style’; the difference is definitely not subtle - it screams of a vast difference. You cannot categorize people as leaders just because they are extroverts; they need to be extroverted to project their business, talk to clients with confidence, appear to be approachable….its not a ‘Mask’…it’s a business need


The HR Store
"A leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go to by yourself." - Joel Barker