Leadership may be one of the most popular topics covered by self-development authors and business coaches. Still, several misconceptions persist in regard to what it takes to be a truly effective leader. In this blog post, we break down some of the most common leadership myths so you can feel more confident about your position as a leader.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Leaders aren’t born—they’re made.”
The original quote can be credited to legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, who said, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
Lombardi, largely considered the greatest football coach of all time, was talking about the need to work hard for success.
And with five NFL championships—including Super Bowls I and II— under his belt, he’s the right man to listen to.
But it’s more than just his accolades that make him worthy of dolling out leadership advice.
It’s his methodology.
Lombardi was lauded for his ability to motivate his teams by encouraging them to be leaders in their own right.
During practice, he would push players to take ownership of their responsibilities on the field by having them run plays over and over again—not out of cruelty, but the belief that success is a habit.
The more you practice it, the more you achieve it.
(Another one of his famous quotes reads, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”)
Lombardi’s mentality is true both in football and in business—particularly when it comes to being a leader.
Because despite preconceived notions, being a good leader isn’t about being the top dog in your business.
It’s about recognizing your blind spots, practicing the art of self-improvement and surrounding yourself with teammates who can make the plays you aren’t good at.
To embrace the kind of leadership that Lombardi demonstrated, you have to let go of the leadership misconceptions that are holding you back. Here are a few of the most common:
Misconception #1: Leaders Have to be Confident
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
No matter what title you wear—whether it’s CEO, founder or department manager—the only thing you really have to be confident in is your product or service.
The rest of it—confidence in your people management skills, professional interactions, etc.—comes with time.
The idea that leaders are always the most self-assured people in the room is nothing but a myth. Even the most charismatic leaders have gone through bouts of imposter syndrome.
What sets a good leader apart is their ability to own that self-doubt. To be honest with their team about their struggles.
Ironically, it’s that kind of honesty that will allow you to build stronger relationships with those you lead and create a more collaborative work environment.
Misconception #2: Leaders Should Always Be in Charge
Sure, you may hold a position of authority within your business. But that doesn’t mean you are the sole individual responsible for demonstrating the kind of leadership needed for a business to thrive.
Leadership can be demonstrated by anyone who takes initiative, inspires others and creates change, regardless of their official role or title.
In other words, leadership is about empowering your people to do what they do best. To succeed as a team.
Misconception #3: Leaders Should Have All the Answers
Let’s circle back to Lombardi for a second.
He believed that everyone on the team mattered. Yet another one of his famous quotes reads, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
In other words, just because you are leading a team doesn’t mean you are the be-all and end-all.
Yes, you should have a clear vision and direction for your team. But effective leaders recognize that failure is a natural part of the learning process and are not afraid to make mistakes or learn from those around them.
There is power in recognizing your blind spots and learning to lean on your team in areas where you may not thrive.
But if you need support in identifying those blind spots, Howbridge is here to help.
Our team will work with you to define your role as a leader, address your blind spots and set and attain goals for you and for your organization as a whole.
Like Lombardi, we can be the coach that encourages you to reach your full potential.
Want to learn more about how we can help you win as a leader? Book a discovery call today.