Leadership is one of the most discussed topics in management. However, there are few leaders as such, and they rarely speak out about it themselves, because they are engaged in their direct business of managing people.
Leadership is knowing how things should be done and helping people to realize their abilities.
Experience in the staffing market shows how few organizations help their employees achieve their potential. The main reason is old-fashioned leadership practices and a fear and reluctance to encourage leaders. One reason is the myths surrounding the concept.
A myth is something that is false but is believed to be true. Unfortunately, the myths outlined below often prevent savvy managers from proving themselves in time. I will try to articulate some of these false beliefs.
Myth 1: Leadership is a rare gift given to a few
Many people believe that leaders are born, not made. This is not true. More true is the aphorism “Leadership cannot be taught, it can only be learned. So, it is possible after all! Many more people than are thought to have the potential to become good organizers. Like most skills, leadership takes time, practice, and work on mistakes. A key quality that makes people leaders is the ability to care about others. Agree that this is not a unique quality. The second quality is a sense of purpose, of mission. A leader outlines a goal and indicates where to go. The question is whether others will follow him or chase him…
Myth 2: A leader must be charismatic
Yes, many leaders are charismatic, that is, they have some exceptional personal qualities and authority. However, upon close examination, it turns out that most successful leaders are not. Most of the world-renowned personalities have flaws and problems. Social skills are more important to a leader than technical skills. What makes you charismatic and charming is your cause and mission. Not the other way around.
Of course, a charismatic leader uses fewer resources to get results. However, the administrative management system also works well, especially in technical productions. On the other hand, a charismatic leadership system is more fragile because it has one person at the center. If something were to happen to that person, the system could 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, the ability to inspire, respect, and the ability to make quick decisions.
Leadership works more for the future than the past. “The leader is the one you follow where you wouldn’t dare go yourself.” The main functions of a leader are Save and Preserve, Nourish and Comfort, Judge and Guide. 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. He creates a work environment that attracts, keeps, and motivates workers.
Myth 4: A leader is a person of high position/rank/title/title
True leadership is not based on position. It is based on performance, effectiveness, and capability. Many of us have witnessed when “leaders” are simply assigned to these roles, demoralizing people and damaging the business. The best companies try to identify and grow as many leaders as possible. “Gore & Associates practices ‘natural leadership by example.’ They don’t appoint leaders. They let them come out on their own. People are drawn to those whom they respect, who can be an example, from whom they can learn and whom they can emulate.
Myth 5: Good leaders have a higher level of education than other people
There is no correlation between the number of degrees, their prestige, and the level of leadership qualities. When it comes to leading people, the best teacher is only experience; the best engine is the will.
As they say – formal education will allow you to earn your living; self-education will bring you money, and the will – power. As we know, the most famous gurus of business and politics did not always even graduate from university. They believed that “business schools build wonderful models of a non-existent world” (P. Drucker). Teaching is the study of rules. Experience is the study of exceptions. Great leaders make their own rules.
The best leadership development programs are in modern armies in developed countries. There you always start at the bottom. Gradually you move higher and are carefully evaluated. Your level of responsibility expands only as your experience increases. Experience follows weeks and months of formal training and coaching.
The unique test for true leaders is the time spent on the front lines, in combat areas. It is there that one learns at an accelerated pace how to manage interrelationships and conflicts. Manage the balance between the common goal and individual needs. War, unfortunately, quickly puts everyone in their place in life.
The Army model of leadership development is certainly not perfect, but it is still an unattainable model for most peace organizations.