To be a great leader in this day and age, it is often necessary to know why we are driven to be leaders in the first place. Do we take pride in our ability to inspire others to reach their potential, or do we use our position to benefit ourselves? Here are just a few misconceptions about what leadership is, and why knowing the qualities of genuine leadership can change our lives for the better.
- Leadership is Not About Being Nice
While there is genuine satisfaction to be found in being a kind and thoughtful leader, there is a fine line between treating people with kindness and treating everyone with undue deference. If we’re afraid to assert ourselves because we fear to earn the ire of coworkers, no one will respect us when it comes time to act. For a leader, that can be a devastating moment.
- Leadership is Not About Being Strict
While some business leaders are convinced that stern discipline is the only way to keep employees in line, the truth is that being a strict leader is an ineffective method of convincing people to do things. When we’re overly strict with our employees, they’ll act productively when we’re around to monitor their behavior, but they’ll avoid tasks the minute our back is turned. After all, a worker whose only motivation lies in avoiding punishment isn’t likely to feel inspired about their assigned tasks.
- Leadership is Not a Means to an End
As you’ve probably seen throughout your career, how a person acts when they’re in a position of power is often a good indication of their character. Unfortunately, many managers find that a bit of power quickly goes to their heads. For such managers, leadership is an exercise in ego-boosting rather than a method for achieving positive outcomes. Leadership should be a reward in and of itself, and if we’re too focused on the benefits that leadership confers upon us, it is unlikely that we will be effective leaders. Effective leaders guide people, while ineffective leaders merely control them.
For these reasons, basing our notions of leadership around healthy ideas and strategies can be a truly life-changing experience. It isn’t always easy to be a great leader, but with a bit of skill-building and the right mindset, we might just find ourselves capable of inspiring others and eliciting positive change in the world around us. Truly, that is leadership at its best!