5 subtle misconceptions of leaders
Here is an incomplete list of “little foxes that can spoil the (leadership) vine”.
I can do my own thing. A leader’s “thing” is not her own. Her thing is her followers’ thing. Followers are why leaders exist. Apart from them, a leader has nothing. Any leader that forgets this is history, and a forgotten part of it. Leader – you can’t do your own thing and remain a leader. It’s about sacrifice for those who are looking to you.
People pay attention more to what I say than what I do. It has been said that talk is cheap, but actually, talk can cost you a fortune. People actually expect you to do what you say you’ll do. But it’s not the talking. It’s the follow-through with actions. A leader who talks but does not walk will make the journey alone. Leader: They are not just listening, they are watching – closely.
Image is more important than substance. While this is true for rock stars, it’s not true for leaders. A pretty face won’t get you very far when it comes to really influencing people. Character trumps charisma.
There are little areas where, as a leader, I can fudge. A day off of integrity or a vacation from morality never hurt anyone, right? Wrong! Leaders open themselves up to deserved criticism if they cross the line of acceptable behavior. Even if followers have no ethics, they like their leaders to have some.
My reputation is secure. If you think your good name is enough to give you the benefit of the doubt, you’d better think again. All it takes is one suspicion that you’ve done something wrong and it can all come crashing down on you. Fight hard to preserve your reputation. You only have one and once it’s gone, so are you.
I realize that this may have created some pressure on you, if you are a leader. Maybe you disagree, possibly you think I’m overboard on these issues. But in a moment of real honesty, I wish that some leaders who are not serious about their followers would either get serious or relinquish their leadership posts. We have too many followers emulating leaders and they are all going astray.