Leadership is one of the most discussed topics in management. However, there are few leaders as such and they themselves rarely speak out on this matter, since they are busy with their direct business – managing people.
Leadership is knowing how things should be and helping people to realize their abilities.
Experience in the recruitment market shows how few organizations contribute to unlocking the potential of their employees. The main reason is old-fashioned leadership, fear and reluctance to stimulate leaders. One of the reasons is the myths surrounding this concept.
A myth is something that is false but believed to be true. Unfortunately, the myths outlined below often prevent smart managers from showing themselves on time. I will try to articulate some of these false beliefs.
Myth 1: Leadership is a rare gift given to few
Many people believe that leaders are born, not made. This is not true. More faithful is the aphorism “Leadership cannot be taught, it can only be learned.” So, you can still! Many more people than it is believed have the potential to be good organizers. Like most skills, leadership takes time, practice, and error correction. The key quality that makes people leaders is the ability to care for others. Agree, this is not a unique quality. The second quality is a sense of purpose, mission. The leader sets out a goal and points out where to go. The question is whether others will follow or pursue him …
Myth 2. A leader must be charismatic
Yes, many leaders are charismatic, i.e. have some exceptional personal qualities and authority. However, upon closer examination, it turns out that most successful leaders are not. Most of the world famous personalities have their flaws and problems. Social skills are more important to a leader than technical ones. What makes you charismatic and charming is your work and mission. And not vice versa.
Of course, a charismatic leader spends fewer resources to get results. However, the administrative management system also works successfully, especially in technical industries. On the other hand, the charismatic management system is more fragile, since it is centered on one personality. What happens to this person – the system can fall apart.
Myth 3. Effective leadership is based on control, coercion and manipulation
Not at all. The most effective leadership is based on personal example, inspiration, respect, and quick decision-making.
Leadership works more for the future than for the past. “The leader, the one for whom you go where you yourself would not dare to go.” The main functions of the leader are Save and Preserve, Feed and Warm, Reason and Guide (A. Kalabin). And they are based on basic human instincts: self-preservation and survival.
People follow a leader because they share his vision and purpose …
A good leader helps people become better than they are. It creates a work environment that attracts, retains and motivates workers.
Myth 4. Leader is a person of high position / rank / title / title
True leadership is not based on position. It is based on activity, efficiency and opportunity. Many of us have witnessed “leaders” simply being assigned to these roles, which demoralized people and hurt businesses. The best companies try to identify and grow as many leaders as possible. Gore & Partners practice “natural leadership by example.” They don’t appoint leaders. They let them go up on their own. People are attracted to those whom they respect, who can be an example, from whom they can learn and who to imitate.
Myth 5. Good leaders are better educated than other people.
There is no connection between the number of diplomas, their prestige and the level of leadership qualities. When it comes to leading people, the best teacher is experience, the best engine is will.
As they say – formal education will allow you to earn a living; self-education will bring you money, and will – power. As you know, the most famous business gurus and politicians did not always even graduate from university. They believed that “wonderful models of a nonexistent world are being built in business schools” (P. Drucker). Teaching is learning the rules. Experience is learning about exceptions. Great leaders make their own rules.
Modern armies in developed countries have the best leadership development programs. There you always start from the very bottom. Gradually, you move higher and are carefully evaluated. Your level of responsibility only expands with your experience. The experience follows weeks and months of formal preparation and training.
A unique test for real leaders is the time spent at the front, in the areas of hostilities. It is there that a person learns at an accelerated pace to manage relationships and conflicts. Manage the balance between a common goal and individual needs. The war, unfortunately, quickly puts everyone in their place in life.
The army model of leadership development, of course, cannot be called perfect, but so far it is an unattainable model for most peaceful organizations.