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5 Leadership Rules From the Past That Don’t Work Now (If You’re Doing Any Of These, Stop)

Don’t fall prey to these untruths

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BY Laura Garnett - 02 Apr 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I think it's pretty fair to say that most of us want to be considered a successful leader. However, what worked in the past won't work now. Rapid change requires agile leaders who think differently and can adapt to the changing times. Leadership is also personal - your leadership style is a reflection of you, however there are some universal rules about leadership you should stop believing right now if your goal is to cultivate a positive and successful work environment - and stay relevant for the future of work.

Below are some leadership rules from the past you should avoid:

Rule #1: Leadership is about results, not the people

Whoever created the phrase "It Takes a Village" wasn't exaggerating, and extraordinary leaders know this. Results start with your team. When you develop a work culture in which you put your people first and nurture the needs of your employees, creativity will improve, your employees will feel loyal to you, and you'll generate a sense of connection and balance throughout the company. Vineet Nayer, former CEO of HCL, and author of, "Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down" applied this methodology and in five years helped HCL change its business model, nearly tripled its annual revenues, doubled its market capitalization, and got ranked India's best employer by Hewitt. Remember, serve your team and they will serve you

Rule #2: Great leaders work alone

Perhaps this was true at one point in time, but the great leaders of today know they can't be the lone wolf. They must evoke leadership in others. Encouraging employees to take initiative, lead big projects, and step-up-to-the-plate will demonstrate that you put the team, project, or advancement of the company before your own needs. As Simon Sinek says in Leaders Eat Last, "it is a leader's job instead to take responsibility for the success of each member of his crew. It is the leader's job to insure that they are well trained and feel confident to perform their duties. To give them responsibility and hold them accountable to advance the mission."

Rule #3: Leaders have all the answers

This couldn't be further from the truth. Great leaders know their limitations, and are open to accepting ideas that are different from their own. They also understand the importance of diversity when it comes to innovation and success, which means that they want to get ideas from everyone. Inspiring your team to be their best and create their best thinking is the key to being the most innovative and a great place to work.

Rule #4: Leadership is fixed

It's a common belief and misconception that once someone becomes a leader they stay until they resign. Effective leadership is about having a growth mindset not a fixed mindset and pushing your comfort zone. If you're focused on expanding your growth and pushing your comfort zone, you will naturally be expanding the leadership role you're in and if the role can't expand then your seeking new opportunities. Gone are the day where people spend an entire career in one company, job hopping is the new norm and great leaders are no different.

Rule #5: Leaders are always "on"

Being a leader doesn't mean you're flawless. In fact, leaders share the same strengths, and weaknesses like the rest of us. They focus their energies into harnessing their Zone of Genius, being as productive as possible and promoting balance. There's also too many company cultures that buy into the idea that longer office hours equals a loyal employee. If you work more than 55 hours then you're actually wasting your time. According to a 2015 study from John Pencavel at Stanford University , employee output falls after a 50-hour work-week and is drastically reduced after 55 hours. Worse, those who work a whole extra day a week are literally wasting their time: the research shows that those who put in 70 hours a week produce nothing more with those who work 55 hours. So if you're always "on" then you're probably not bringing your best self to the job.

 

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