Leadership is simply a walk that inspires others to follow suit. Leadership is first about what you do or are with yourself that inspires others to follow your pattern. Things that people look at in order to follow your lead include your passion and consistency in what you do and then, your results i.e. the feats you’re achieving as you journey through life.
Whoever lives a life that is worthy of these above-listed, leadership becomes almost as natural as breathing to him/her. Leadership attracts followership without demanding it. Leadership is just like honey-bee attraction. When we see someone who is a true leader, we are always drawn to follow such. We don’t need to be forced, cajoled or persuaded. All we need is to be convinced and then, we naturally want to follow such.
However, people find it difficult to lead others because, leadership in its true essence is a burden and the burden is you’re responsible for the people you lead just as you’re responsible for yourself. So, this responsibility is one thing that scares people away and a lot of people who manage to stay still make mistakes in handling this leadership responsibility. What then are these five common mistakes people make when it comes to leadership?
Mistaking being skillful for being a good leader:
Anyone can be skillful at a particular thing or even know his onions so well and still may not be a good leader. Anyone can be very good at a subject or a course and still lack the ability to pass the knowledge across. Anyone can teach anything so well, but lack the worthy lifestyle that can inspire his/her student to emulate the qualities he/she is teaching.
Even though I will not like to relegate to the background, the importance of having some skill set and competencies which are necessary to gain trust as a leader, as a matter of fact, leadership still has its definition in being able to replicate yourself in others, being able to help others refine and sharpen their skills for maximum productivity and helping to direct others’ skills and talents towards achieving a common goal.
Monopoly of authority/stinginess with trust:
A leader who is interested in raising other leaders must be ready to trust his subjects/team/followers. When a leader fails to trust, he fails to lead. That fear of losing authority and control is what makes most leaders overly careful with sharing them. However, you actually don’t lose authority by sharing it; you lose it only when you try to monopolize it. Authority multiplies only in an atmosphere where it is freely shared.
Keeping secrets about goals, plans or your lifestyle from your team/followers/subjects is another big mistake some leaders make. Being an effective leader is first about being transparent and letting people see through. Nobody wants to be led by a myth or someone they can’t see through. We all want people we can relate with (see, touch, have as a friend, etc.) You can only impress people from a distance, but if you must influence them, you must be ready to walk through the crowd and touching lives, one person at a time. Another aspect of keeping secret is being stingy with your knowledge and/or experience. If you must lead effectively, you must always be ready to share what you know with your team/followers/subject. If you can’t replicate yourself in them, then you’ve failed indeed.
A lot of times, your leadership will be passed through the test and often, it’s always the test of whether you’ve got selfish interests you’re trying to protect or whether or not your position or seat means anything to you. You’ll have to deal with people who are highly talented and at some points, you may feel they’re trying to overshadow you. You may also have to deal with people who are confrontational or always wanting to prove a point. At points like this, it’s always a terrible mistake to allow your feelings and emotions get in the way of being a true leader.
As a matter of fact, your leadership is not meant to teach them everything or know everything better than your followers. Your leadership is in being able to channel everyone’s knowledge, expertise and experience in a particular direction and to achieve a common goal. So, it doesn’t matter who knows it best. And as a leader, you must recognize points when you’ve got to allow the person who has the know-how/experience or skill to take the lead on certain projects or activities. A good leader always learns to shield his people from his emotions & feelings.
Leadership will always require that responsibilities and tasks are delegated to some persons or a group of persons at one point or the other. This is one very crucial/critical part of every leadership as it’s a risk and also determines how successful the team will be. Your ability to delegate, appoint and assign people to different duties is actually one of the hard games of leadership.
A good leader however, gives assignments, not just to dump heavy burden or load on people, but in order to develop and build them. When you fail to understand people before giving them responsibilities, you’re risking giving them tasks outside their strength zone and that equals failure. Before delegating, you sure want to know how the stuff helps the person to get better, how the person appreciates the stuff or feels about it, if at all the task is equally challenging and inspiring to the person and if the person has the natural abilities and skills set needed to accomplish it. Anything done without considering any of these is a stupid risk to be taken.
Everyone needs a leader and no one actually deserves a follower, who hasn’t first of all, placed himself under the leadership of someone. In other words, leadership & authority are passed down. We all receive it to pass it down. Some of these leadership lessons can only be learnt in the practice and not just by reading. So, are you reading this and you don’t have a coach, a mentor or someone you look up to in order to draw lessons from, you may be making a big mistake. Get someone today as it’s very much needed.