Like most things in life, leadership is full of misconceptions. Those who have never held leadership roles will sometimes have ideas of these roles and what it’s like to hold one as well as the many benefits that come from it, but those ideas are often wrong. After all, how can you truly understand a leadership position if you’ve never held one? These misconceptions can be damaging not only to leadership positions but to people who could potentially become great leaders themselves one day. Here are a few of the most common leadership misconceptions, and the truth about them.
All Leaders Are Extroverted
It’s common for people to assume that if you’re a leader you’re an extrovert. Extroverts are people who are typically confident and more outgoing than others, which are traits commonly associated with leadership as well. The truth is that being an introvert or an extrovert as a leader only matters in how leaders process information. For example, an extroverted leader may discuss problems with their peers while an introverted leader is more likely to think about their problems internally and solve conflicts that way. Just because someone is an extrovert doesn’t automatically make them suited for leadership, and many of the most successful leaders, such as Bill Gates or Barack Obama, are introverts.
Leaders Lack Emotion
It’s often believed that in order to be a leader you either lack emotions or that you experience emotions differently than most people. While it’s true that leaders often must leave emotions out of situations, they’re usually just as emotional as any other person. The fact of the matter is that everyone handles emotions differently. Oftentimes the best leaders are people who have a good understanding of their emotions and when they must leave them out of decision making and the like. Great leaders are also able to read and understand the emotions of others, often allowing for greater connection amongst team members and ultimately a better work environment.
Leader and Manager Mean The Same Thing
One of the most popular misconceptions about leadership is that manager and leader mean the same thing. Just because someone is a manager doesn’t mean they’re a leader and vice versa. Various differences exist between the two roles. For example, leaders create a vision while managers establish goals. Leaders focus on the big picture while managers work on short-term goals. Leaders coach while managers assign tasks and provide guidance. These and other differences paint a better picture of how leaders and managers differ and how they can work together.