Those people working in the corner offices are obviously the leaders in the company, right? No one gets to the highest ranks – or even the middle ranks – without strong leadership skills, right? The answer is “no” on both counts. Just because an employee has been promoted through a business and found success doesn’t mean he or she is a leader. It could mean that he or she is a manager, but those are completely different concepts. Managers worry about processes, business development and maintaining systems. Leaders are focused on the future of the company and the success of its employees. Let’s take a look at some other facts about leadership.
Myth 1: There Is No Leader Without Followers
There are such things as leaders with no followers. They are entrepreneurs. Even if they start out with no employees, they still are a boss and must make all leadership decisions themselves. A one-person business still has a company culture. It is just that the entrepreneur can follow his or her own path without hesitation. However, after employees become part of the equation, the leader’s focus must change from a single focus to a new style of interaction and understanding.
Myth 2: Leadership Comes From the Top
Again, we are talking about the distinction between a manager and a leader with this myth. There may be many some directives coming from managers at the top. But leaders are the people who make those goals happen as a result of teamwork. Just about any member of a team can be a leader if given the opportunity to do so. You don’t need a corner office to bring innovation, cooperation and education to any discussion about business development.
Myth 3: Leadership Is About Giving Direction
Leadership is not about doling out orders. It is about listening – to mentors, team members, customers and others. Strong leaders absorb input from people with various viewpoints and use this information to formulate a plan. If they learn – through listening – that the initial strategy is not working, they are not afraid to tweak the plan or go a completely different direction. Leaders have earned influence and use it for the good of the team and the company.
Myth 4: Executives Got to Where They Are Because They Are Good Leaders
Many executives have not reached the highest ranks of the company by being good leaders. They usually have been promoted through a combination of good sales earnings and time with the company. Unfortunately, being great at sales doesn’t make a manager great at communication, motivation, innovation or establishing a strong company culture. Good leadership may not always result in a fancy corporate title, but it will make its mark on the success of a company.
Myth 5: The Best Indication of a Leader’s Achievement Is Their Own Success
There is nothing wrong with trying to get promoted at work, but the most telling indication of a leader’s success is the level of their followers’ success. Motivating an entire team to reach a business development goal or revenue goal is a lot of work and requires a strong leader. Retaining key employees and “managing up” requires a strong leader. Keeping everyone on the right track and running interference on distractions requires a strong leader. With the right person at the front of the pack, the entire team will find success by working together.
Leadership skills are different than managerial skills, and as such, they should be nurtured as part of the company culture. Sharing a cooperative spirit in order to motive followers requires more listening than dictating. The positive results of strong leadership can be seen from the top to the bottom of the company.