People who have never been in a leadership role often have assumptions about what leaders actually do and what it takes to be an effective leader. It’s clear that communication and the ability to lead a team are among the most important aspects of good leadership, but different situations may require different leadership styles. In almost any setting, there are some misconceptions about leadership, teamwork and communication.
Leaders Are Born, Not Made
One of the most common misconceptions about leadership is that true leaders are born with the characteristics needed to lead a team. There are people who have natural leadership tendencies, but in some situations that may actually be a disadvantage. Those with innate leadership abilities may think they don’t need to learn anything. Those that are new to a leadership role may recognize that there’s plenty more to learn about leadership, teamwork and communication.
All Leaders Are Extroverts
There’s no doubt that communication is an important part of effective leadership, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to lead if you aren’t gregarious. Extroverts become energized by interactions with others and are comfortable being outspoken in groups, which are qualities that can be useful in a leadership role. If you aren’t naturally extroverted, you may have other qualities that can help you be an effective leader. You may have the ability to listen closely to and empathize with others and you may tend to think carefully before you speak. Good listening skills can help you to pay attention to the ideas of others.
Leaders Have All the Answers
When you lead a team, you may feel pressured to have all the answers all the time. It’s a myth that leaders automatically have all the answers to every challenging situation. The important thing is understanding how to go about getting the answers you need. This may involve using communication skills to get the insight you need from other members of your team and possibly from other sources. Nurturing relationships and validating others are great ways to work toward a solution to a problem.
Leaders Boss Others Around
Rather than dictating to others or bossing them around, effective leaders lead by example. They are supportive and respectful toward the members of their team and work toward empowering others rather than being condescending.
Leaders Are Always Confident
Effective leaders are self-aware, which means they are cognizant of nonverbal messages they may be communicating to others. Leaders often project an aura of complete confidence and self-assurance, but they’re human beings who may question their own decisions from time to time. At the same time, they know they serve as role models so they may try to project a positive and self-assured image.
Good Teamwork Means No Conflict
Leaders strive to motivate and unite their teams. Your ideal vision may be for everyone to always get along, but no matter how good a leader you are, there will be times there are disagreements and disputes between members of your team. Avoidance of conflict altogether isn’t a realistic goal. As a leader, you need to determine when it’s time to get involved in disputes and how to work with those involved to find an effective solution.
Improving Leadership Skills
There’s a lot of overlap between leadership, teamwork and communication, and the assumptions people make about leaders aren’t always accurate. Effective leaders strive to build strong teams and to communicate with honesty and authenticity. They recognize there’s always more to learn about leadership and communication skills and they take advantage of opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills.
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