Successful leaders have their own personality, their own style, their own approach. They can be as different as day and night.
Think Donald Trump. Then think Mother Teresa.
See what I mean?
Some leaders work smarter. Some work harder. But all of them work at it.
Leadership is there for the taking, to one degree or another, for anyone willing to make the effort.
But first, it helps to dispel some common myths of leadership.
Myth #1: Leaders Are Born
Wrong. Leadership is what results from consistently practicing good people skills, which means it can be learned, improved upon and fashioned into excellence.
While it’s true that leadership comes more naturally to some people than others, those folks are in the minority.
Exceptional leaders have worked at it for years, learned from their mistakes and spent countless hours perfecting the art of “making it look easy.”
Myth #2: Leaders Need Titles
Wrong. Being named the CEO of a company or head of a department doesn’t automatically make the person a valued leader.
We all know at least one person in a leadership role who did more to demotivate than to inspire. Managers are promoted by the people above them. Leaders are “promoted” by the people under them.
Myth #3: Leaders Need Charisma
Wrong. Having an outgoing, engaging, confident and dynamic personality might help you feel good about yourself. But it doesn’t necessarily win the hearts and minds of others.
While those traits are useful, so are many others. In fact, almost any personality type can be an effective leader. What leaders have in common is a commitment to grow the people around them to be successful, too. Leaders do not create followers. They create more leaders.
Myth #4: Management Is Leadership
Ugh. Leadership and management can go hand in hand, but they are very different. Managers plan, budget, organize and staff. They control the problem-solving mechanisms.
Leaders go a step further by creating the vision, communicating and setting directions, and motivating and aligning people.