For any organization to succeed, there needs to be strong leadership. This is especially true for small businesses. Without clear direction and motivation, it is unlikely for a company to meet its goals and succeed.
Unfortunately, in the business world there are many people who seem to think that effective leadership always looks the same. While many leaders do have common qualities, it is a mistake to think they are requirements for leadership to be effective.
Thinking this way has perpetuated some common myths about leadership in the business world. Just like the myths about small business we recently covered, you absolutely should not let yourself buy into these myths about leadership. Here are a few of those myths and misconceptions, and why you shouldn’t believe the hype.
Myth #1: Leadership Must Come From the Top Down
Far too frequently, people think that leadership within an organization must come from the top down. Quite often, the most effective leadership doesn’t come from management. Instead, it comes from the workers who set an example for the rest of the team.
In the employee/manager relationship, there is frequently an inherent imbalance of power that can cast a shadow over attempts for the manager to help or instruct the employee. It is a difficult line to walk between being instructive and punitive. In many cases, managers also may be somewhat detached from the realities of their employees’ daily work, even if they were in the same position previously. This can make instruction feel less genuine or helpful.
Therefore, when leadership and instruction can come from a wider range of sources, including fellow employees, it can be considerably more effective and powerful.
Myth #2: To Lead, You Must Do Everything
Leading by example and showing that you’re willing to do whatever work needs to get done are admirable qualities to have. However, they can often become a negative if not checked. Frequently, leaders seem to feel that they not only have to be willing to do any and everything, but have to actually do it themselves.
This is actually a detriment to the company, though. By doing everything yourself, you make it impossible for others to step up and become leaders themselves. To be a truly effective leader, you need to learn how to find and cultivate the strengths of others, then delegate in a way that makes use of those strengths.
Myth #3: Leaders Cannot Fail or Show Weakness
When you are in a position of leadership, showing any kind of weakness can be a terrifying prospect. After all, it’s hard to ask others to follow and trust you if your plan ended up being a mistake. The reality is, though, that failure of some kind is inevitable. In fact, it’s an important part of the creative process.
In moments when failure does occur, it is also important to remember that it is okay to be open and honest about it with your employees. While many people in positions of power look to avoid showing any kind of weakness in fear that it will undermine their leadership, honesty and transparency will usually strengthen the bond with those they are leading.
Even if there isn’t necessarily failure in a given situation, it is still important to be transparent and outright about things that you are not as skilled at as others. Doing this is not a sign of a weakness whatsoever. In fact, it is a fantastic opportunity for growth among your team.
For you to be an effective leader for your small business, it is crucial that you recognize your own strengths, weaknesses, and what style of leadership best works for your company. This cannot happen, though, if you believe all the myths about leadership that are out there.
These are only some of the common myths about leadership in the business world today. What are some myths you commonly hear that people should take with a grain of salt? Let us know in the comments!