“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
— The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
There are quite a few striking traits of successful leaders, but none is as dominating as their decision-making ability. The nonchalant ease with which leaders take decisions makes everyone around them believe in it, and their attitude of standing by the decisions is something every individual aspires to achieve. In fact, decision-making ability often defines the personality of a leader and even paints them as outgoing, smart, decisive, and sometimes a little intimidating, resulting in them being referred to as ‘boss’.
In fact, anyone with such traits is believed to be “boss material” and a natural leader. Such blurred views and misconceptions about leaders are the primary reasons why there’s a scarcity of successful leaders across the globe. Many with leadership traits, often, do not believe in their abilities and end up just as an ‘employee’ or ‘worker’, never reaching the next level. In this blog post, we debunk five such myths about successful leaders.
They are Born that Way
One of the biggest misconceptions about leaders is that they are born with a certain set of skills that help them lead. “He or she is born leader” is nothing but an extension of the admiration public generally holds for their leader.
Agreed that some leaders are naturally influential and authoritative, but anyone can attain these skills through hard work and dedication, going on to become great leaders. Natural skills can only take a person so far. It’s the years of learning and being responsible that shape leaders and helps them come up through the ranks.
They Know Everything
Another misconception about leaders is that they have all the answers. No matter the situation, the leader knows a way out. The reality, however, is completely different. Great leaders never pretend to know all and show no qualms in admitting when their knowledge falls short or they were wrong about something. They fail, they ask questions and find ways to overcome their failures and get results. Curiosity and ability to admit mistakes are a critical part of effective leadership.
They are Extrovert
This delusion stems from the understanding of the terms ‘extrovert’ and ‘introvert’. While a talkative and confident person is defined as an extrovert, a shy or withdrawn person is labeled as an introvert. These are just personality traits and have nothing to do with leadership skills. Leadership abilities are found in a variety of people and everyone has to balance them with their unique personality and style.
Yes, being open and willing to engage with a group of people makes the job easy, but that doesn’t make extroverts great leaders or introverts any less leader. Introverted leaders are slow to speak and slow to show their emotions, but are clear in their minds about how the trials and situations need to unfold around them.
They are Result-Oriented
Living in the fast-paced world has transformed us into action-oriented and result driven beings. Great leaders drive hard for outcomes but that doesn’t mean they are cold-blooded and do not value their team. Leaders know how to balance being and doing. This is also called Co-Active Leadership, with the co- (being) and the -active (doing) harmoniously working together.
They are Expert Multitaskers
For one, no one is an expert multitasker. Strong leaders, as much as they appear to be multitasking, are actually balancing their work by practicing delegating and schedule blocking. Scheduling allows leaders to channelize all their attention to one task at a time, resulting in accomplishing more than the average individual. Some leaders even schedule time for checking their phones and emails. Being connected all the time is one of the major reasons for distraction, and scheduling time away from phones and emails can actually improve productivity.
In the End
Although not everyone is cut out to be a leader, many who have the potential often fall short because they believe in these myths. They start doubting their skills and personalities, consequently losing opportunities to become leaders for mere salaries and praises. Ask any leader and they won’t list any of these beliefs as their success quotient. All they believe in are their skills and their ability to make influential decisions.