Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Today’s leaders are facing a variety of unique challenges, but they all have similar themes. Once a month, I share some of the common concepts that my clients and I are discussing so that you can apply them to your situation. In today’s episode, we’re talking about three common misconceptions about leadership. The first is that all great leaders are introverts, the second is that you have to have all the answers, and the third is that you can achieve success on your own.
1. The Introvert Leader
One of the great leaders I coach has started to believe the myth that you need to be an extrovert to be successful. If you are an introvert, the most important thing you can do to be a successful leader is to be your most authentic self. Instead of tapping into their unique genius, introvert leaders can end up spending their time and energy trying to show up as an extrovert, thinking it’s what will make them more successful. But not all leaders are extroverts. Leaders like Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Warren Buffet all were introverted leaders who made a difference in the world and attracted other people to join their efforts. Instead of worrying about if you are introverted or extroverted, ask these three questions:
Who would I be if I approached this as my most creative and confident self?
What message is important to deliver?
How can I do it in a way that honors my true self?
Q: What misconceptions do you think people have about being introverted or extroverted? What misconceptions do you think people have about you or your personality in general? What do you do to make sure that you are leading in a way that is aligned with who you are?
2. It’s ok to be at a loss for words.
Do you feel like you have to have the answers for every situation? In reality, it’s unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything, and it can even be a turn-off for your team. Nobody enjoys a leader who has the answer for everything. The most confident leaders don’t feel like they need to have all the answers or be right. They get their confidence because they do not fear being wrong. It’s ok to be at a loss of words, but we should never be at a loss of ideas or vision!
Q: What do you typically do when you are at a loss for words? Why do you think you respond that way? How do those situations affect your confidence?
3. Be a connector!
One of the leaders I am coaching would rather die than fail. Although this mindset has served him well on his journey to success, it was causing him to plateau. I began to explain to him the difference between a climber and a connecter. Climbers think of things vertically, including who is above and below them. Connectors think of things horizontally by considering how they can best work with the people around them. Climbers focus on their position; connectors focus on their relationships. Climbers value competition; connectors value cooperation. Climbers seek power and will do whatever it takes to be seen as important and valuable. Connectors seek partnerships and know that their best work is done when they are working in harmony with those around them. Climbers can have a lot of success, which gives them the sense that their way is the best way. I think it is healthy to carry some of the mindset of a climber, but if you lack the mindset and intentionality of being a connector, you will reach a much lower ceiling. Connectors may not always reach success quickly, but their approach is more sustainable.
Q: Describe a time when you worked with someone who was good at collaboration. What other skills did they have? How did they involve you or your team in the project? How do you think they defined success?
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Take some time to write down what you think your strengths and weaknesses are. Are you using your introversion or extroversion as an excuse for any of your behaviors? Becoming more aware of your own limiting beliefs will help you create a plan to overcome them!
Practice being okay with silence. The next time someone asks your opinion, don’t rush to give an answer, even if you think you have one. Pause and count to 10. Ask the other person’s opinion. If you genuinely don’t have an answer, ask to talk about the issue after you’ve had some time to think about it. If you’re nervous to do this at work, start by doing it at home with your family members. The skills that we use in leadership are useful and can be developed anytime we are in interpersonal situations.
Try joining a mentorship or mastermind group to focus on your ability to connect with others. These groups consist of people who are at a similar place in their career or business and allow for the free exchange of ideas. Focus on building connections with other people without looking for how they can benefit you.