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The 6 Most Common Misconceptions About Leadership

Learn how to become a better leader.

Leadership is one of those things that everyone wants experience in but no one quite knows how to get it. Some people think that you're born as a leader, while others think leadership is something that you learn. While it may be a skill that you can grow and develop with time and experience, there are a lot of misconceptions about being one. This is why I'm tackling a couple of myths that I hear frequently from our community.

These are learnings that I've discovered through my time as a Spoon member and am continuing to learn more about what it takes to be a good leader. Here are the six most common misconceptions about being leader:

1. Being called a "leader" makes you a leader.

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A lot of people believe that having a fancy title makes you a leader but that's definitely not true. Sometimes people in positions of power are horrible leaders, or make bad decisions, or do nothing at all.

In times like this, it's great for members to step up and lead the team. You can always throw out ideas that you have and make them happen, but you definitely don't need a fancy title to affect change. 

2. You need to be an extrovert to be a good leader.

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People often believe that they need to be extremely sociable and extroverted in order to be a good leader. They think that good leaders are charismatic and get along with everyone. Susan Cain explains in her book Quiet that this assumption comes from how our ideals have been shaped by the charismatic salesperson. 

However, introverts and ambiverts can be just as successful or even more successful than extroverts because they take the time to get to know people one-on-one and really listen to what other people have to say. This can be especially beneficial when you need to reach an agreement or compromise.

3. People will automatically listen to you.

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Having a fancy title or leadership position doesn't mean that people will automatically listen to you. They're not robots. You can't tell them what to do and expect them to turn around and do it.

Instead, you should get our team's buy-in and explain to them why they should be doing something. Get them to believe in your mission and goal so they want to do what you ask them to.

4. You need to do everything.

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Sometimes, leaders take the responsibility of the whole team and place it on their own shoulders. They have this belief that they need to take on everything or else they won't be a good leader. 

This is how a lot of chapter leaders get burnt out. Instead, you should break down large tasks into smaller ones, delegate tasks and follow up with members. Trust the team that you've recruited and help them along the way. 

5. You don't need to do the "menial" tasks.

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On the flip side, there are folks in leadership roles who think that they don't need to do "menial" tasks like schedule calls or picking stuff up. They think it's "beneath them" and that someone else should be doing it. 

Sure, you should delegate, but you should also be available to step up to help out your team. If there's a gap or a member needs help, you should step in and help, even if that means you're the one going out to buy napkins for a team potluck or cleaning up trash after an event.

6. You can make any changes you want.

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Leaders typically have the power to make the final decision. However, that doesn't mean that you can make any change that you want just to suit your preferences. You shouldn't just move a meeting because it's inconvenient for you, or change a marketing strategy because you don't like it.

These changes should be discussed as a team, and if everyone agrees that it's the best path forward, then you can make that change.

Being a good leader is hard, and it's a constant learning curve. There isn't an equation to fill out that outputs the perfect leader, but I hope this helps you become a better one.