Sep 23, 2022 Vas Nair

LEADERSHIP MYTHS Part 2: Turning them into learning opportunities

Leaders, like the rest of their employee population, have preferred styles when it comes to communicating, building relationships, how they work to achieve their goals, and resolving conflict. As they expand their skills and knowledge, they will lean into what’s worked well for them in the past.

In this second part, I want to continue exploring important leadership lessons by examining 3 more  Leadership Myths. It’s a different way to enhance self-awareness, while considering how these myths apply to each of us and others whom we work with. So, here they are:

Only extroverts make successful leaders

Absolutely not! Both extroverts and introverts make up lists of strong and effective leaders. However, let’s face it, it’s simply not enough to sound loud and play center court…

There are several ways to slice and compare these two traits, which isn’t the point of this discussion. What’s important is to remember that not only the gregarious and outgoing personalities make terrific leaders. Oftentimes, introverts are misunderstood because of their quiet temperament.

Introverts usually think first (reflect and contemplate) before giving their point of view. This doesn’t mean that they cannot make decisions quickly. They certainly can when it’s needed. These individuals usually have strong listening skills, which allows them to gain a more thorough understanding of the landscape before jumping into problem solving. They learn by listening, which can draw others into the scenario – and is especially important when tackling workplace conflict. Another strength that is very much needed during a crisis is their sense of calm. This sends a confident and reassuring message to others. Introverts can contribute greatly. As leaders, they can be bold, decisive and will use their strengths to stand up and face challenges.

Leaders never fail

It’s unrealistic to expect leaders not to make mistakes or fail. Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”.

In fact, the most successful leaders rise from the lessons they learned and what they did to course correct. They own their mistakes and keenly keep an eye on avoiding a similar problem. Because they believe in turning mistakes into learning opportunities – they encourage their employees to experiment and learn fast from setbacks.

By taking this approach, they see firsthand how employees react and adapt to challenges. This facilitates a learning culture…which in turn accelerates individual and team development, creates stronger engagement levels, and facilitates knowledge transfer. Communicating what the mistake was, how it was handled, along with key takeaways, comes naturally to these leaders. This is another powerful practice from a leader with a ‘growth mindset’. These leaders may have a tolerance for missteps but it’s unlikely that they will accept laziness or deliberate attempts to create setbacks. At the end of the day, their focus is to fix the issue, put in the necessary checks and balances and to move on. Ultimately, they want to avoid the same pitfalls.

Leaders are ON 24/7/365

To be effective, leaders need to strategize and plan for current and future business opportunities. An important element to this requires them to be energized mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So, how can they achieve all of this if they’re ‘ON’ all the time?

It might seem possible for a short time period. However, it all comes unhinged when something drastic happens, such as a health crisis.

They need to refuel by leaning into the best ways of managing their time and energy. Critical to their success is their overall well-being. Experienced leaders have learned when to hit the ‘PAUSE’ button. They’re also supported by others who they trust and can rely on. This is true both professionally and in their personal lives.

Now, that’s not to say that they don’t go ‘off balance’ from time to time. They’ve dealt with missteps and know what’s required to get back on track. Coming out of painful setbacks, they understand that they cannot be on the go all the time.

So, the 24/7/365 formula doesn’t work.

The solution lies in having the right people, systems and environment that can bolster the leader. For instance, micromanaging, working extremely long hours, and poor delegation are signs of an unhealthy leadership style. To remedy this, it really starts with the individual taking stock of what’s happening, why it’s happening and how to move forward. Asking for assistance is not a sign of a weak leader. In fact, it shows an astute, self-aware person, who wants to do better by being inclusive. Successful leaders lead from a place of strength, wisdom, humility, and empowerment.

Giraffe HR App - Creators Vas Nair and Sobha Nair

Hi there!

We’re Vas and Sobha Nair, two sisters that have lived and breathed all aspects of human resources for over 50 years between us. Giraffe was born from our global experience coaching leaders and business owners navigate the same tricky workplace issues and discussions that you face. We know the best practices and proven processes that help turn workplace conflict on its head – and we want to share all of this and more with you in Giraffe.

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