There are three great myths about leadership;
1 The ‘hero’ ‘macho’ leader saves the day.
History shows us that when it is all about one person, the results are usually disastrous. Leadership is not about one person shining, but what they do for other people.
It is not about you.
2 There is finite list of skills and behaviours everyone needs to develop to become a great leader.
Leadership is subjective and contextual. A style that works well in one situation may not work at all in another. As we move through exponential and inexorable change the demands on leadership are also changing, and require a more fluid style that flexes and adapts over time.
3 Leaders are born and not made.
Leadership is not destination. It is instead a continuous and never-ending development journey, a journey which requires a mindset geared towards growth and learning.
So, what’s the truth?
When asked which quality people prefer in their leaders, the top response has been unchanged for the last 30 years (LPI 360 database).
It is HONESTY.
Because leadership is simply about creating belief – if you can’t create belief, then you cannot lead. When people believe in you it’s because they trust you are being honest.
All over the world, we are seeing disengagement from main stream politics because of this very issue, and concerns around trust and belief. Our leaders are not CONGRUENT i.e. their values, behaviours and actions don’t seem to be aligned – and we pick on this from them in both their conscious and unconscious communication.
“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life, spend the days on the ends of strings somebody else pulls”
– Howard Thurman
Only 30 years ago we judged the competence of our leaders by using reductive tools like IQ. Its only now we realise it’s not IQ that makes great leaders, but EQ (Emotional Intelligence). To have self-awareness and self-regulation, as well social awareness and relationship management, means understanding your self and others. The power of emotional intelligence is such that we can actually affect the emotions of others.
We saw evidence of this in the recent elections, when Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign was all about the positive message, which resonated with the voting public and led to an increase in votes for the Labour party.
Feedback on the campaign by the Conservative party, on the other hand, recognised that their approach lacked positivity and hope – and the negativity they focussed on not only led to a lower engagement from the voting public, but led to party members stepping down – including Nick Timothy, a senior advisor to PM Theresa May, himself quoting the lack of positivity in the party for his resignation.
This proves that leadership that is focussed on negative feedback and the problems the organisation faces has a knock-on effect on the drive and success of those being led. Negativity is a powerful weapon against success.
Leaders have the power to influence feelings – so when leaders emerge who are perceived as being congruent, genuine and optimistic the response can equally as powerful.
ASK’s global leadership development programmes are all about developing your authentic, congruent, emotionally intelligent self and using those behaviours in leadership. We believe all journeys should start with self-awareness.
As it stated on the entrance to the Temple of Apollo in Delphi – “Know Thyself”
If you want to know yourself better as a leader, call me today on 01234 757575 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a conversation to talk through your needs, and the programmes we offer.