Debunking Three Common Myths About Leadership from a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Guest post by Brenda Corbett:

The
Star Wars franchise has seen numerous leaders, including great ones of the
dreaded Dark Side. With
Star
Wars: The Force Awakens
coming out late this year, we will see new and old
leaders take the big screen with various styles of leaderships. There are many
definitions of leadership, but sometimes the best way to define something is to
explain what it is NOT.  Looking at the
common myths and misconceptions can shed light on the truths that can set us
free as leaders and help us unleash the best kind of success in an
organization.

Myth #1: I can use my motivation to help
others be motivated

Make
no mistake! One of a leader’s key responsibilities is to motivate others, to
“rally the troops.” But what motivation are you using? The operative term here
is “my motivation.” What motivates the leader does not necessarily motivate
everyone else in the organization. This can be a real stumbling block for
leaders as they make assumptions about why their employees do what they do.

Most
of the time, leaders are just not digging deep enough to determine why it
matters to employees. But having that complete understanding of the reasons
people behave the way they do is crucial for a leader’s – and company’s –
success. Yoda nailed this in the head. He took the time to understand and
influence those he led. He continuously asked questions encouraging others to
think. He engaged them in their thoughts and ideas to truly understand what motivated
them. By getting to know your employees like Yoda got to know his students, you
can help employees make positive choices when deciding what behaviors to use –
all based on THEIR motivations, not yours.

Myth #2: My job as a leader is to get my
team on board

Most
leaders think that their job is to get everyone in the company to think like
they do. Align everyone to the company vision and mission. Get them all
speaking the same vernacular to go onward and upward to productivity and
profits. Create uniform processes so that everyone does everything the same way
in perfect, efficient harmony. But as soon as this occurs, it starts to become
solely about the leader, starting the steps towards the Dark Side.

Certainly
there has to be a team mentality, a loyalty to the company and to each other,
but to be successful, companies should be full of free thinkers. Sure, Darth
Vader has ultimate respect from all of his followers, but not for good reasons.
They respected him out of fear. He didn’t approve (to use the lightest word)
when people spoke up or had different thoughts or ideas than him. If someone
disagreed with him, they knew to keep their mouths shut or expect Vader to use
the force to choke them to death. Darth Vader had the power and respect,
but remember how he ended
up?
Yeah.

As a
leader you should aim for diversity of thought by welcoming opposing viewpoints
and be open to new ideas. I think you’ll find that’s where some of your best
ideas come from.

Myth 3: Every argument has a winner and a
loser

This
sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Surely this cannot be a myth. But
there is an alternate scenario, one in which everybody wins. The key is in your
approach. As decisions are made, some go one way, some go another – and as a
leader you’ve got to be okay with that. Have you heard of the term “right
fighter?” It’s someone who just wants to be right, that is what is most
important to them. Not success or solutions, just being right. If you are a
strong leader, you know that it just doesn’t work. Being right or getting your
way or winning the argument is not the goal, it’s not the path to success.
Recognizing and fostering a “we’re all winners” mentality is the best
self-fulfilling prophecy of all! Han Solo could be quite the narcissist, but he
had this down when it came to taking action. While under attack from Imperial
Forces, he made the decisions as a leader and Princess Leia and Luke followed.
It was not without digs and questioning from Princess Leia, but ultimately Han
Solo led his crew to safety and the argument definitely resulted in everyone as
a winner – and more importantly, a survivor.

So
tell me…can we agree to disagree? I think so.

We
want to know what you think. How do your personal motivations come in to play
with your leadership style? Do you ever fall prey to these myths?  Are there other myths you’ve encountered?

Let us
know in the comment section below or connect with us on
Facebook.

Good
luck in your leadership journey. May the force be with you.

About the Author

Brenda
Corbett is the co-author of
Why It Matters – The Sherpa Guide to What
You Are Looking For
, centered on a concept she created as an executive
coach. Your Why It Matters provides the inspiration for what you choose to do,
personally and professionally through four key points leading to your ultimate
sense of satisfaction. Based in Cincinnati, but working all over the world,
Corbett literally wrote the book on executive coaching,
The Sherpa Guide: Process-Driven Executive
Coaching
. It’s the foundation for certificate programs at 10 major
universities. Corbett’s next project will incorporate neuroscience research
into her executive coaching methods because it all starts with the brain!