I recently interacted with a group of leaders. As I spent time with everyone individually, I identified several leadership malfunctions. The one thing that stood out the most was that the beliefs they cling to need to be updated, creating limited growth potential for their team. 

I witnessed a consistent lack of leadership from the HIGHEST level down to the lowest leader. In seeing this, I realized the company focused on something other than leadership but instead on the production outcome. The culture focuses on production rather than building trust and confidence with the workforce.

Here are the four most experienced leadership beliefs that I determined created the lack of a successful leader.

1. Leaders don’t do work

They don’t sweat; they want you to sweat and get dirty and accomplish their desired goals for their success! Today’s leadership reality is the need for hands-on engagement to create trust, respect, and performance. I saw a large part of the workforce with suspicion of leaders and the loss of care.

But leaders must be seen as authentic.

2. It’s lonely at the top

Is perception different from reality? And, more importantly, what does it say about our leadership styles? The image that comes to mind when thinking of this classic leadership belief is the isolated leader.

If this is what you believe, it is time for a change. It can be either installing a new, updated leader or you focusing on personal growth and becoming a successful modernized leader. 

I witnessed several leaders living in their offices with doors closed and not attending meetings, training, or even departmental lunches. Leaders shouldn’t sit in detached isolation at the top of the organizational chart. Instead, they must immerse themselves in the organization’s culture and people.

3. It’s not what you know. It’s whom you know

The idea was that leadership development was not the result of personal growth as much as it was a byproduct of having privileged access to the ‘who’s who.”

When you consider this concept vs. today’s leadership style, it is truly laughable! I worked in the prison system back in the day, where you were promoted or given the best job based on whom you knew and their role. 

In my time with this organization, I quickly found that if you were the most influential person in a task or department but were not in a tight relationship with the head leader, you were likely not going to get the right job or play the proper role. But, if you and the leader were friends, you were promoted and given the ability to do everything the way you wanted. I had several conversations with people who informed me that many people in specific roles came and went how they wanted.  

True, leaders must always broaden their relational world, but this is to the benefit of others, not for self-advancement.

Leaders are not required to make friends, but their role is to build respect and trust.

4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

Yes, there has always been a thought that leaders will hit the ceiling and need help to improve or change their leadership style.  

We all say we want to change but struggle to embrace change. By doing that, we choose to unlearn. The challenge of unlearning is letting go of old ways of thinking about ourselves, others, and how things get done.

But look around today. You’ll quickly see that no matter the age, influential leaders keep learning.

Leaders must continue their personal development. And one of the most important ways to ensure such growth is to strip away outdated leadership beliefs.

So, take a moment to consider whether these limit your leadership.

Because……….. What You Believe Will Determine the Leader You Become!

Denis is an Executive Director for the John Maxwell Group and is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behaviorial Consultant. Denis is a senior safety professional and a strong, passionate influential person. He is committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques.  His unique, passionate, and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. 

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture training, DISC Behavioral consulting, or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

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