The Psychology of Leadership
But for many years, that’s what leading authorities on “Leadership” believed to be true – the more authority one had over people, the better leader one was. Decades of research now indicate that isn’t true.
The old theories that real leaders are born, not made, was dependent on the idea that a person’s “personality traits” were what made a good leader. These “innate” attributes, such as character, intelligence, “willpower,” charisma, “personal power,” “vision” “values” and other similar personal aspects were believed to be special skills that separated leaders from followers.
Now we know that good and great leaders are created, not born, and many of the older, previously believed attributes are actually seen as detriments to being a good leader.
We now know that good leaders must work at their leadership skills and that good leadership strongly depends upon understanding the needs, desires and wants of those whom one would lead. In short, you can’t be a good leader without understanding the human motivations and fears of others.
In short, leaders must inspire others to overcome obstacles and exceed expectations. Which is exactly what Cognitive Behavioral Psychology teaches people to do.
In the beginning, there is one person, one idea, one inspiration. Then the hard works begins about bringing the idea forward, finding others to help. It’s quite a bit of matchmaking that needs to take place.
With all the complexities, understanding the myriad of relationships involved and how they all interact it’s no wonder than most new businesses flounder or fail. And it’s not for lack of money, it’s for a lack of understanding of human relationships.
The old model of “Transactional Leadership,” wherein leaders can overcome anything, has been replaced by the realization that effective leaders are experts in the knowledge of group psychology.
Our Psychology 101 For Entrepreneurs program is available as a training program, downloadable Power Point presentation or as a coaching module.
The concept of “Strategic Leadership,” wherein the executive of a mature company must only cope with a small set of rivals and competitive pressures, is quite outdated.The new executive leadership model stresses the individual leader’s insight and persuasion, placed in the current market perspective of growth demands.
Many people have attempted to illustrate the differences between a “Leader” and a “Boss.” Theodore Roosevelt was reported to have said in a 1910 speech that “the leader works in the open, and the boss in covert (secret). The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
Gordon Selfridge, one of the earliest entrepreneurs and retail giants – he coined the phrase, “The customer is always right’ – had similar views on leadership. “The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how,” he said. He also noted, “The boss drives his men; the leader coaches them.”
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II (and later President of The United States) was reported by Michael Matthews, Ph.D.,to have encouraged West Point to add psychology to the official cadet curriculum. He commented that adding the teachings of “practical or applied” psychology couldn’t help but to encourage cadets to realize the importance of “handling human problems on a human basis and [thereby] do much to improve leadership and personnel handling in the Army at large.”
Leadership can be learned, and psychology is the way to do it. But it isn’t about mastering 10-20 “leadership traits.” And it isn’t about copying how others have provided leadership.
If you would like to be a better leader, no matter what stage of development your business or career is in, contact us and we can show you how.
We provide Executive Coaching based on the proven principles of Cognitive Behavioral Psychology. Coaching is available as a seminar, individual session or as training modules, either in person, on site or by internet.