Leadership has become arguably instrumental in many societies and across all walks of life. Due to regional disparities, there may be varied perceptions of ‘leadership’. In other contexts, ‘leadership’ appears cliché and thus, ineffective. Before we explore the many facets of leadership, we’d like to douse certain misconstrued notions about leadership. What, really, is your perception of leadership?
LEADERSHIP IS INNATE
Often times, people wrongly assume that leaders are natural-born; or better still, that the ability to lead is innate. While this may be relatively true in very few instances, leadership; like every other soft skill, is painstakingly nurtured. It isn’t just enough to sit back and revel in the caressing but feeble hands of natural abilities. Let’s take a cursory glance at language acquisition: Some schools of thought argue that children develop an innate ability to speak. While they acquire or learn the language, children make attempts at language production which include babbles, coos and the like; before an eventual meaningful expression is made. By and large, the ability to speak obviously would not manifest if there are no conscious efforts - it isn’t magical.
LEADERS ARE ALL-KNOWING
“No man is an island of knowledge”? Right; that’s how the old saying goes. Really, could you possibly envision the solutions to all the crises and challenging situations in your organisation? If you could simultaneously manage the responsibilities of a Customer Care Specialist, HR Manager, Digital Marketer and Technical Operations Manager, you probably wouldn’t need to put up a vacancy. The idea is; one would always -maybe not always- need to make consultations from other parties: It could be your employee or follower, or clients, as the case may be. We’d like to draw a thought-provoking dictum from the legendary Socrates: “I know that I know nothing”. Diligently applying this principle effectively gauges the leadership orientation towards humility.
LEADERSHIP SOLELY DEMANDS EXTROVERSION
This is one commonly misconstrued notion and it’s alarming how we assume leaders are automatically extroverts. There are great introverted leaders too: Bill Gates? Mack Zuckerberg? Albert Einstein? Mahatma Ghandi? Warren Buffett? The list is inexhaustive, really. While many extroverted leaders are usually charismatic and sociable, some introverted leaders are reticent. Personality types should not necessarily interfere with the execution and implementation of leadership duties. Again, being introverted should not provide a leeway to half-wittedness. By and large, potential leaders acquaint themselves with the strengths and weakness of their personality types and judiciously put them to use as the context demands.
AS A LEADER, YOU NEED TO DO EVERYTHING
Many leaders get burned out trying to assume overwhelming tasks within a limited time. It’s okay to delegate roles to subordinates or employees. Permit a slight usage of the popular Nigerian Pidgin slang: “Body no be firewood”. This may include health implications associated with stress and fatigue. In delegating roles and responsibilities as a leader, you should take responsibility for actions and progress of team members: This is where we make reference to effective supervision and performance management. However, it is most noteworthy that delegation of roles should not be abused by leaders: It is one thing to delegate and assign roles, it is another to entirely neglect duties.
What are your thoughts on common misconceptions about leadership? We’d love to learn your review. Kindly engage us on @dawibassociates across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram Social Media Channels.