We’ve all heard of many different leadership skills advice. This leadership advice could come from many different places, be it YouTube videos, word of mouth, or even business school. However, leadership advice needs to come from personal experience. For those still lacking experience, however, the next best thing is to learn from someone else’s. Here are the top leadership myths debunked in Malaysia.
Top leadership myths debunked in Malaysia
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Manage others the way you want others to manage you, motivate others the way you want others to motivate you, tell others that their market research report would have been excellent coming from an intern. However, you expected much more from a senior analyst, the way you yourself sometimes need tough love in order to get the ball rolling …
It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to see how this piece of advice can be a slippery slope. That’s not to say leaders are being disingenuous about how they want others to treat them – most wouldn’t get a promotion to that role without some competitive spirit and willingness to put in the hours.
“When I got my first promotion into a leadership role, I assumed that my team members were motivated by the same things that motivated me: rah-rah energy, high fives, contests to reward performance, come in early, stay late, live to work, etc.,” said Bryan Zawikowski, vice president and general manager at Lucas Group, a recruiting firm. “I really ‘lived to work,’ assuming every team member felt the same way.”
Instead, Zawikowski’s team started to dwindle in performance. It finally took one comment from a tenured peer – “Don’t expect everyone to be just like you” – for Zawikowski to realize that his leadership style was to blame.
“The key takeaway was that everyone has a different set of motivators based on their personality and what is going on in their lives,” Zawikowski said. “I learned that if I was going to be an effective leader for the whole team, I was going to need to treat people the way they wanted me to treat them, not the way I wanted them to treat me.”
All’s well that ends well.
If all’s well that ends well, then a good management style is any management style that checks boxes, turns a profit, or yields growth.
This one may be harder to let go of, thanks to many companies’ obsession with the bottom line. But replace “all’s well that ends well” with the sinister near-synonym “the ends justify the means,” and one can see how this can be a problematic way to evaluate a manager’s performance.
Luckily, there are other metrics that pick up the soft skills of management. When David Leonhardt worked as campaign manager for his friend’s 1997 bid for a seat in the Canadian Parliament, you can deem his leadership a failure by any traditional measurement that is performance-based. The “bottom line” in this case is that they lost the election.
To say this, however, would have been jumping to conclusions. For one thing, the party’s local vote share increased from the previous election, despite a decrease nationally. For another, “from a leadership perspective, one metric blew everything else away – volunteers abandoned campaigns in other electoral districts to work on our campaign, and they did so more and more as the election progressed,” Leonhardt said.
Leonhardt has since retired from partisan politics and is now president of THGM Writers, a ghostwriting service.
Fake it till you make it.
For a textbook example of the “fake it till you make it” strategy, take Theranos or Fyre Festival, two of the most recent high-profile business failures. Both were so good at imitating the aura of successful tech startups that they attract investors and publicity without having to show any bottom line. It wasn’t until it came time to show results that their facade of credibility came tumbling down like a house of cards.
As it turns out, there’s a fine line between a display of confidence and deceit. A quieter majority has found success with an honest approach.
“I am firmly against the notion to fake it till you make it,” said Megan Tamte, who took on a leadership role for the first time after opening her store EVEREVE. “That’s encouraging people to pretend they know more than they do or [be] something they are not.”
Instead, Tamte attracted the kind of business partners and customers she wanted to associate with by “being honest, telling my story, and explaining my ‘why’ to people.” The strategy paid off: EVEREVE made $120 million in sales in 2018 and is on pace to hit $150 million this year.
Judging by the number of business self-help books on positive thinking, it appears we all suffer from a cripplingly pessimistic outlook. Considering the fact that two-thirds of startups don’t survive their first decade, however, it appears many business leaders could use a dose of reality.
Hence, some experts caution against excessive positive thinking.
There are several ways you can abuse positive thinking. From a management perspective, it’s a way to shut down others’ opinions and concerns by dismissing them as harmful negativity (again, see Fyre Festival). This should be validating for anyone who’s ever got provoke by the phrases “it’s all good” or “look on the bright side.”
From a decision-making perspective, it’s also a clever mind trick for delaying action in a bad situation. Left unchecked, this can snowball into collective denial.
Meanwhile, negative thinking can ensure survival.
Knowing the top leadership myths debunked in Malaysia can be quite shocking to many people. However, by implementing this knowledge, you will find it out for yourself from experience.
More information about:
- Types Of Leadership Styles in Malaysia
- How To Develop Good Business Leadership Skills in Malaysia
- Team Management Is Important For New-Startup