Here are the next four misunderstood facts about leadership. A leader is a person who has taken on a responsibility to provide direction, they take the initiative, provide confidence in the path ahead and ensure the team is inspired to take action. They are also human beings and we need to be very careful we don’t make the role of leadership a lonely place to be.

5. As the leader you must know all the answers

No-one knows all the answers, as a leader you are setting yourself up to fail if you think you do. As a leader it is important that you are open about what you don’t know, seek to find the answers when you need to, and surround yourself with good people who do know the answers.

A good leader should, however, know which questions to ask.

6. Good leaders are not afraid to get their hands dirty

How many times do you hear this as an attribute of a good leader? There may be times when there is a need for all hands on deck, but as a general rule, the leader does not need to “get their hands dirty”. Their skills are best used leading the team, providing direction, and developing the relationships needed to keep work in front of the team.

7. You can’t always be yourself

There is often a belief that you have to have a façade, a professional image, to uphold as a leader. That you can’t relax and be yourself. To be effective, you need to be authentic, you need to show people who you really are, let your guard down occasionally and show your human side. The proviso to this is that you still have to be there for the team, sometimes it might mean suppressing your own emotions about a situation in order to remain calm and in control for your team.  You may need to “take one for the team.”

8. People must know that you are the boss

As a leader you are both in charge and part of the team. In some situations, you may delegate a leadership role to other team members because they have more skills than you or are the right person at this time. You do not always need to be “The Boss” and be in charge. There are connotations to “let them know who is the boss” that are not attributes of a good leader, a leader is never a bully and does not need to stamp their authority to make a point. Their authority is earned by their deeds and their manner.

Part 3 tomorrow…