By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
[email protected]

You work hard. You show up to work on time. You volunteer for special projects. You offer assistance to others on your team. You do all of these things and yet you still get passed over for the promotion.
Despite being qualified for the leadership position, you may be allowing common myths to stagnate your climb up the corporate ladder. If this has happened to you, then it’s time to face the myths head-on.
Tackle these common myths and open the door to the future of your career as a leader.
Myth: You Can’t be Vulnerable
All too often, those in leadership positions think that they must stand firm and hold their ground. If they change direction, accept fault, or follow the ideas of others, then they are showing weakness.
The true sign of an effective leader is someone who can acknowledge that they don’t have all of the answers. They’re receptive to their team and have confidence that they have a group of capable people around them.
By showing that you can recognize good ideas and work well with others, you’ll prove that you’re ready to move up the corporate ladder. Being a leader isn’t about having all of the answers. It’s about recognizing them in others and implementing them.
Myth: Leaders Need to be Fierce, Distant, and Omnipotent
Think about your previous leaders and management. Have you enjoyed working with a leader who was distant and cold?
When someone becomes a leader, they feel the need to separate themselves from those they manage. If they aren’t careful, they distance themselves too far and become distant and unapproachable.
If you want to climb the corporate ladder you need to show that you’re productive and that people want to work with you. Do this by remaining approachable and friendly. You don’t need to go for drinks at happy hour, but you can take a moment to show interest in your team’s lives.
Myth: You Need to Be an Extrovert
Most of us think of extroverts as someone confident and social. Introverts are thought of as shy and less willing to talk with others. This isn’t quite correct, despite how common this way of thinking is.
In reality, extroverted leaders reach out and communicate with others when it comes to working through ideas. Introverts tend to be more introspective and work through problems and ideas on their own. You can be a good leader either way, even though most assume that extroverts will perform better.
If you consider yourself an introvert, you can overcome this myth by using an extrovert’s tactics. Once you do your independent thinking, reach out to your fellow team members to discuss and collaborate. This will encourage others to think of you as an extrovert.
Myth: Great Leaders are Born, Not Made
This myth is just plain wrong. No one is born with the skills necessary to effectively lead a team.
You can overcome this myth by focusing on the qualities that make someone a great leader. Put in the hard work that’s required to develop the skills needed. Then showcase these skills in your current position.
People will assume you’ve always had leadership qualities. You don’t need to correct them in their assumption.
Myth: There Is Only One Leadership Style
Early on in your career, you probably learned a few managerial techniques that worked. They’ve stuck with you through the years, and you’ve always depended on them. The problem is those few techniques won’t work in all situations.
Find a management style that works for your personality, blends well with your team, and creates a culture of positivity and productivity. Keep in mind that the leadership style you use for a group of 10 may not be the style you can use for a team of 100.

Let’s get to work!
If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at 203-323-9977 or [email protected]