3 Myths To Dispel About Successful Leaders
By: Sarah Robins
As a child I was often referred to as “bossy” by my peers and siblings. When I became a teenager, the language softened to “you have leadership qualities.” So naturally, as I started my career, that brought me to the assumption that I was a great leader and people should just let me oversee things. (We all know this isn’t a solid line of thinking and partly attributed to my millennial generational upbringing.)
This is one of the big myths of leadership, especially as a young leader. The past few years have brought to light a few myths and how they can impede my growth and the growth of those around me.
1. Extroverts are the most natural/best leaders
Being the loudest person in the room does not make one a leader, much less a great leader. Don’t overlook the more introverted candidates. They’re often slow to speak, slow to anger, and clear headed about the trials and situations that unfold around them.
If you are an extrovert, be cautious about this leadership myth. Don’t assume you should be handed a leadership opportunity because you can take up all the air in the room. Often the best leaders are those who don’t feel entitled to a leadership role but will humbly rise to the task in front of them.
If you are an introvert, you will need to be comfortable asking for a seat at the table if you want one. Don’t assume someone will notice your work and ask you to step up.
To learn more about different personality types, check out The Church Leader's Guide To Personality Assessments.
2. Leaders are great multitaskers
First, no one is a great multitasker. However, it often appears that strong leaders are balancing several spinning plates at once. While this may look like multitasking, great leaders are usually delegating and schedule blocking.
Our founder, William Vanderbloemen, regularly encourages our lead team to give away responsibility quickly. He believes that we should spend time doing what we’re wired to do best. Then, empower the team by delegating certain responsibilities.
Schedule blocking is another way strong leaders are able to accomplish more than the average individual. It’s impossible for anyone to avoid interruptions these days, but when you schedule time away from your phones and emails you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
3. You’re either a leader or you’re not
The myth that you’re either born a leader or not couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve see this with our own team members in our time as a young company. Leadership can be developed over time, so don’t overlook someone who may not initially strike you as a leader. Leaders are developed out of making mistakes, struggling, and taking opportunities. A great leader knows they weren’t born to lead, but must always be growing and developing the skills needed to lead well.
Don’t assume you’re entitled to a leadership role because you’ve been told you’re a “natural leader.” But also don’t assume you can’t grow into that role one day. Regardless of personality, the one common factor among all great leaders is dedication to working hard. Being diligent, present, and eager in your work is the best way to set yourself up for future leadership.
People will always want to follow authentic leadership that’s been earned. No one wants a “trust-fund leader!”
What are some qualities of the best leaders you’ve encountered?