Many leadership stereotypes get passed down through conferences and leadership books, but these buzzwords go largely unquestioned as to their true merit. While some leadership ideas stand the test of time, others have outlived their usefulness. Here are four leadership catchphrases to reconsider.
1. Work Hard, Play Hard
Sure, working hard is a good thing. If you don’t work hard, you’re not going to accomplish your career goals. Hard working can help you land a promotion and increase your financial security, while providing a good example for employees. But the “work hard, play hard” phrase has become overrated. First, while hard work is admirable, overworking yourself helps no one. You will just end up stressing yourself and your employees out. You might even make yourself sick. You need to work hard, but also practice self-care. Second, playing hard suggests that the remedy for work stress is just as stressful as the work itself. When in fact, meditation, sleep, and other relaxing activities will do more to alleviate stress.
2. Question Everything
Curiosity and skepticism will help you in your career, but as with most things, moderation is key. Questioning the way something has always been done can help you find a better alternative, for example. Yet, asking too many questions can be a real problem as a leader. You don’t want to constantly question your employees and their actions. This can negatively affect their confidence levels. Plus, you don’t want them to feel like you don’t trust them. Instead, encourage them to be curious and encourage them to practice self-reflection.
3. Stick to Your Guns
We think of strong leaders as people who always adhere to their core believes, refuse to waver, and follow through on their commitments. We want leaders that embody strength, courage, and perseverance. The best leaders, however, need to also be flexible and willing to take risks. Sometimes, you have to change your strategies, your goals, or even your values if you want to succeed. If your “guns” aren’t effective anymore, sticking to them will only lead to failure.
4. Everyone’s Opinion Should Count
Actively listening to your construction employees is an essential part of being an effective leader. You need to be open to hearing other people’s opinions. Not only does this allow you to make more informed decisions, it allows employees to feel like they have a voice. That said, you can’t take the time to hear every single employee’s opinion on everything. This simply isn’t realistic. Sometimes, you need to make swift decisions. While you should listen to the people around you, as a leader your job is to get results. This means knowing that not everybody’s opinions are equal and being decisive when necessary.
The advice you read in leadership books can often help you become a better leader. But you should keep in mind that not all of these mottos are as meaningful as you think they are. Some advice worked well twenty years ago, but no longer work in today’s business environment. Some never worked in the first place. You can’t take leadership stereotypes at face value.
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