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Four top leadership myths


January 2, 2015
By Roxi Bahar Hewertson

Topics

Jan. 2, 2015 – If no one is following
you, you aren’t leading! says
Roxi Bahar Hewertson of Highland
Consulting Group as she debunks a few myths about leadership.

Jan. 2, 2015 – If no one is following
you, you aren’t leading! says
Roxi Bahar Hewertson of Highland
Consulting Group as she debunks a few myths about leadership.


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Myth 1: If you are a
star performer in your field of expertise, you will surely be a star leader of
others

From the day we were born, all the applause has been about
“what I have done well," not "what we have done well.” The exception
is teamwork within or outside your family. The skills, attributes and even
motivations required to lead people successfully are entirely opposite from
those required to be a successful individual contributor. Consider this: if the
roles and skills weren't so opposite, it would be a walk in the park for
someone to move seamlessly from being a great violin player to being a great
conductor. Leading others is an emotional and intellectual seismic shift that
will quickly separate effective leaders from ineffective ones. Making the
transition from being an individual contributor to being a leader can seem as
difficult as swimming from New York to London alone, without a life jacket.

 

Myth 2: Emotions
should be left outside the workplace 

Leading people is messy! People are, and will always be,
unpredictable. Each person is unique, and that means leading people is complex,
fun, interesting, frustrating, and yes, messy. Life happens, and it's full of
triumphs and tragedies, any of which can happen to any of us at any time. We
can't predict surprises! Leaders have to
be ready for just about anything and everything. Like it or not, every person
brings their emotions to work. People are 24-hour thinking-feeling creatures.
They can and often do behave differently from our preconceived perceptions
and/or assumptions about them. Our values drive our decisions, which generates
emotions that often show up in our behaviors. It's a knee bone connected to
thigh bone kind of thing! Emotions are contagious; we catch flyby emotions more
quickly than we catch a cold. The idea that we can keep emotions out of the workplace
is a lot of bunk. Besides, we want people to feel when it suits us, right? We
want them to be loyal, grateful, ethical, engaged, and kind to the people they
work with and for.  It's just the
inconvenient feelings that we would like people to leave at the door. It
doesn't work that way. We all bring our 24-hour, lifelong selves into work,
like it or not.

 

Myth 3: The best way
to make changes is from the top and expect your people to get on board

The painful truth is, change efforts fail in every organization
about 70 per cent of the time, and for some that’s on a good day. We know this
it from our own experiences. The status quo has a powerful, almost surreal
stranglehold on people and organizations. We think and say we are open to new ideas and changes, but it’s often
not true. And the number one reason change efforts fail is because people
resist them. That’s because our life
experiences have shown us that too many people with authority over our work
lives make lousy decisions based on with lousy information ending up with has
lousy results.

 

Myth 4: Being really
smart and/or well-educated is all that really matters

Not even close. It is not enough to be really, really,
smart. Emotional intelligence matters a heck of a lot – more even than IQ, particularly
if you want to have healthy and productive relationships. Bad and ineffective
leaders can create a lot of damage. Good and effective leaders can accomplish
incredible feats with their followers. If no one is following you, you aren’t
leading! You can manage all kinds of tasks that might involve schedules, money,
projects, budgets, and so on, and yet everything you do with your staff and
other stakeholders involves relationships. How well those relationships work
has a lot to do with how much TRUST is at the centre of them and that has
everything to do with EQ not IQ.

 


Roxi
Bahar Hewertson, CEO of Highland Consulting Group, Inc. and AskRoxi.com, brings
over three decades of practical experience in the worlds of business, higher
education and non-profits. She is an entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and
author of Lead Like it Matters…Because it Does  (McGraw-Hill October 2014) (www.tinyurl.com/leadlikeitmatters ),
which provides leaders with a step-by-step roadmap and practical tools to
achieve great results.