What makes someone an effective leader? The best are creative rather than reactive, says Bill Adams, co-founder and CEO of leadership development company Leadership Circle. This is evident from a recent survey that the company conducted among 2,506 CEOs. “Creative leaders lead with vision and measure how results are achieved, not just that they are achieved,” explains Adams. “Reactive leaders emphasize caution over creating results and self-protection over involvement.”
It’s an important difference, and it’s all too easy to end up on the wrong side of that line. In an interview with Inc.com, Adams describes five mistaken beliefs that can turn you into a reactive leader — and a boss no one wants to work for. I’ve made the mistake of believing all these things at one point or another in my career. See how many of them sound familiar to you too.
1. You are the only one who can really do it right.
This belief may be objectively true. It is possible that you are really better at certain tasks than anyone else. It doesn’t matter though, because whether it’s true or not, working this way is always a recipe for trouble. You just can’t be an effective leader if you do all the work yourself.
The more your business grows, the more responsibilities you have, the greater the accountability of this approach. “Guess what? It doesn’t scale,” Adams says.
2. You succeed by getting your customers or boss to like you.
Adams says he has worked with many executives who had this mindset, especially when they first reached positions of power. “They judge themselves by how others see them,” he says, “rather than defining themselves by a well-developed, very clear understanding of who they are and what they stand for.”
Having the ability to like and support others may have been instrumental in getting you to your current position. But that’s not leadership, says Adams. “At some point you have to be written by yourself rather than by others.”
3. You are the smartest person in the room.
You may be very, very smart. But if you feel the need to show your intelligence as a leader, you’re headed for trouble. “That’s someone who tends to dominate, doesn’t listen well, isn’t good at inviting others into their own magnificence,” Adams says.
Another problem with wanting to be the smartest person in the room is that it often leads people to become very critical and discover all the flaws in the project, company or product. “That never goes very well,” Adams says. “It doesn’t engage people, it pushes them away.” It also makes it harder for you to learn from others, or for you and your team to learn together.
4. You always know how your words and actions affect the people who work for you.
“Most of the leaders who work with us are unaware of their impact and don’t get feedback about it,” says Adams. And all leaders need feedback to know how they come across. So was Adams — on the day we spoke, a co-worker had warned him that he’d been talking about two female employees in a way that seemed contemptuous. “If I didn’t have someone on my team who was willing to make me aware, I would have missed that for a while,” he says.
The best leaders strive to be self-aware, he adds. “In many cases, it comes down to being comfortable in my own skin. Knowing who I am as a person, where I’m not that strong, and where I’m really strong. Creative leaders are radically transparent, and they’ are radically people-oriented. “
5. It is your responsibility to get the work done, and you need employees to help you do that.
It’s a subtle mental shift, but an important one, says Adams. Reactive leaders see employees as a means to an end necessary to perform essential tasks. Creative leaders see employees as the most critical part of their job. “Having relationships, building teams, connecting in a way that people know they care about, mentoring and developing people — all those things are incredibly important,” he says. “You work with people instead of managing them. It’s a very different orientation.”
There is a growing audience of Inc.com readers who receive a daily text message from me with a self-care or motivational micro-challenge or idea. Often they text me back and we get into a conversation. (Interested in joining? Find out more and an invitation to an extended free trial here.) Many of them are entrepreneurs or business leaders, and those who seem most successful are those who are most focused on the human side of things. their job. They seem to understand that in any company or workplace, relationships matter most.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
This post If you believe any of these 5 things, you are a worse leader than you think was original published at “https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/if-you-believe-any-of-these-5-things-youre-a-worse-leader-than-you-think.html”