The Biggest Misconception about Great Leadership

It’s Not About You

With all of the buzz about leadership and management, there is one huge misconception that seems to perpetuate itself to the core of most leaders. In today’s post, I am going to talk about the biggest misconception that I have seen leaders make and how it impacts the entire organization.
In my life, I’ve been in leadership positions in some way for the majority of my teen and adult years. When I started, I kew that leadership was about me telling others how to do something the correct way. I mean, I was teaching them how to do things so this was in line with my job purpose. Right? I had it all wrong.
As I grew up and matured, I was able to develop better people skills, tune into emotional intelligence, and I think most importantly, realize that leadership is about them, not you. Let me say that again, leadership is about them, NOT YOU. Servant leadership is the true purpose for leadership. Centuries ago, master tradesmen had apprentices working under them. These apprenticeships would go on for years in some cases, but the end goal was the master developing, training, and growing the apprentice. Today, we have perverted leadership into thinking it is about the leader.

How We Got Here

It has been an easy path to this philosophy. We honor and praise leaders. The President of the United States, no matter your personal feelings, is on a platform. CEOs of large corporations like General Electric, Facebook, and Apple all are seen as the glue that holds the entire company together. Sadly, they are on part that happens to be the face of the company, but in many situations, the success of organizations is more about the people under the leader, than the leader’s own abilities.
Could you imagine Steve Jobs at Apple with out Johnny Ives, Tim Cook, or Steve Wozniak? Each of those men played a huge role into making Apple what it is today. Jobs was the charisma, but it took an entire team to build an empire. Now, we must not forget the thousands of other employees over the years that made Apple into the company it is. Steve Jobs had huge responsibilities pushing Apple to greatness, the livelihood of every person that worked at Apple. Making appropriate choices was one way he served the employees, but not the only.
Before we move on, it is possible for a leader to be solely responsible for a company. Bad leadership, micromanagement, soul crushing antics can all destroy an entire company culture. Sometimes this may take time while some situations may be a free spin. The attitude at the top can permeate to the lowest level employee. I mean, it does all run down hill right?

Millennials May Change Everything

I’ve written previously about the importance of authenticity with Millennials. As a whole, Millennials typically count authenticity, ethics, and values as important to them. 56% of Millennials in a recent survey said that they would not work for a company if they didn’t feel the company was ethical or if their values did not align with the company’s. 56% of the largest generation places that much importance on ethics and values, it is time to start listening.
Millennials matter, regardless of what you think. The old way of they’ll do it my way will not work. You will have to morph to show your authenticity, honestly, and trust to gain influence with Gen Y. They ask why to just about everything. Not in a disrespectful challenging manner, yet a potential and growth challenge. The status quo is not always the best way and don’t get me started on the famed “we’ve always done it that way” slogan of so many organizations. Leverage this opportunity, build influence with Millennials, and mentor them along the way. They will be 75% of the entire US workforce by 2025. That is power in numbers that you can’t fight and remain relevant.

Biggest Misconception About Leadership

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