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7 myths about leadership

February 3, 2020

These wrong thoughts could prevent you from taking charge of your company or improve your ability to lead a team.

The opinions expressed by employees are personal.

We live in an era that seeks quick fixes and easy answers. And sometimes, leaders abdicate their own thinking to adopt “popular wisdom,” which is generally contradictory.

7 myths about leadership7 myths about leadership

Like many, I grew up accepting too many things, taking them for granted. It wasn't until I started giving them a second look at important issues, such as leadership, that I realized that I have been believing many concepts that are really myths. Here I share seven conceptions about leadership that are not true:

1. “All managers are leaders.” Truth: Some managers can lead and others can't. Management is a subcategory of leadership, not its equivalent.

Managers are good at monitoring and maintaining systems and processes. They hire people, but they cannot drive the best performance of people and take the organization beyond where it is. Leadership always involves change, improvement and growth.

2. “There are innate leaders.” Truth: Even if someone has a certain predisposition to lead, they must learn leadership skills. A young man who measures 1.90 meters might have a predisposition to play basketball, but he needs to learn how to play it before he succeeds.

Leadership may be more latent in some than in others, but you should focus on developing certain behaviors, not the biological background.

3. “Leaders always have the right answers.” Truth: Leaders ask the right questions and know where to find the best answers. If your people always give you answers, then you are boosting their ability to think. And if everyone in your company keeps asking the same questions, then you are not innovating.

Without questioning and without curiosity, leaders simply manage using family responses. It's not so much about knowing the answers, but about knowing who to ask.

4. “You need a title to lead.” Truth: To lead you just need to know when it is appropriate to do it and how to do it. When I stay in a hotel, most of the people I meet do not have titles or power over people, but they are responsible for creating my experience there. The good team willing to take the lead is more important than the lead leader.

Leadership is about doing things better, and the best organizations teach everyone to take responsibility for leading.

5. “Leaders are focused . Truth: Leaders create a shared approach. If your team is not focused, it doesn't matter how much you are. A manager is generally focused, but a leader creates a shared approach and does not spend resources on allowing team members to do unimportant work.

Being focused is about responsibility and discipline. Creating a shared approach is about including others in the leadership agenda and personalizing it to your work.

6. “Leadership is about ambition.” Truth: Leadership is about the greater good. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but if what you do only serves you, then you are not leading.

When everyone else is also benefiting (customers, colleagues, vendors, the community), that is the sign of effective leadership.

7. “Everyone can lead.” Truth: No one can lead unless they have the desire to do so. You cannot force people to lead; Will is the key to effective leadership.

And you cannot be a better leader without this same desire. I have observed that nobody improves by accident. Improving is about leaving behind common thinking, lies and myths to achieve wisdom. If you know the truth, then you will be free and you can become a better leader.

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