Go online or visit a bookstore and you will find plenty of advice on how to set a course and encourage others to follow. Some advice is wonderful and can transform the way you lead for the better. Other tips are difficult to follow and likely won’t build your skills.
Use the following list of leadership myths to help find your leadership groove:
Myth 1: Don’t listen to naysayers.
If you ignore input into your business, you are likely headed for trouble. Peers, partners, your attorney, your family and others can provide valuable feedback and guidance. The natural reaction to negative input is to resist it. Instead, thank people for their input and then consider it rationally.
Myth 2: Entrepreneurial leaders take huge risks.
Your job as a leader is to set a direction, keep your business “ship” on course and inspire others to help you get to your destination. There may be risks along the way, but carefully calculated ones. Your team is looking for you to chart a safe and profitable course, not to take gambles.
Myth 3: Good leaders have all the answers.
Strong leaders surround themselves with a talented team. Tapping those team members for their ideas and input simply makes sense. You will likely make the ultimate go/no-go decisions, but soliciting guidance from people you trust will help to ensure that you make the best decisions possible.
Myth 4: Leaders are aloof.
People want to follow and support leaders who care about them. Connect with employees and communicate that you consider their concerns. Provide positive feedback for a job well done. Get to know them on a personal level by asking questions and cultivating an interest in them.
Myth 5: If you start a business, you are a good leader.
If you start a small business, you are likely skilled and passionate in your area of focus. These qualities alone do not make you a leader. Build your skills by reading books written by successful leaders. Emulate leaders you admire.
Myth 6: Leaders are infallible.
People want to follow someone with vision, talent and the ability to move a business forward. In executing this role, you can and will make many, many mistakes. If you are open and honest about your mistakes—and act swiftly to rectify problems—you will maintain the respect of your team.
Myth 7: Leaders are born, not made.
While some people are natural leaders, most of us need to work at it. Like other skills, leadership can be learned and improved with practice and experience. Don’t become complacent. Always look for ways to be a better role model for your employees.
No matter your years of experience or track record as a leader, there is always room for improvement. By re-thinking some of the conventional wisdom about leadership and reconsidering the myths listed here, you can begin to find new paths to growth as a business leader.Print this article