5 Management Tips Leaders Should Ignore

5 Management Tips Leaders Should Ignore

There is no shortage of management tips and leadership advice. Your local bookstore has shelves stocked with books containing all of the information you (supposedly) need to be a successful and adored leader. Google the keywords ‘management advice’, ‘how to be a good leader’, or something similar and the search results are exhaustive. Unfortunately, a large portion of this advice is insipid at best, and completely off the mark at worst.

So, how does one become a good leader? It’s time to turn things on their head. Let’s take five examples of management tips that leaders should ignore, and figure out why they are completely unhelpful.

1. Great Leaders Are The Smartest People in The Room

When it comes to having a vision and motivating people, then yes, it is a good idea for a manager to be among the smartest in the room. However, on all other matters, a leader should not be the smartest person in the room. In fact, great leaders will go to great lengths to ensure that they absolutely are not the smartest people in the room.

Good leaders find and mentor people who are smarter and more talented than they are. If a leader is the best salesperson, financial expert, logistics coordinator, and marketer in their company, things aren’t looking so great. The goal is to bring on people who are stellar at what they do and then empower them to do that.

2. Leadership is an Innate Skill

There’s a stereotype that the best leaders are bold, decisive, and outgoing. People often presume that leadership ability is based upon certain personality traits. Those that have these traits are said to be born leaders. Those who don’t have those traits often face doubts and are sometimes even discouraged from pursuing leadership roles. Those who aren’t equipped to be leaders are often pushed into those positions because they have the right character.

The truth is, there is no single, leadership personality type. There are certainly plenty of people who do fit into that stereotypical personality type, and many of them are able to use those traits to lead successfully. On the other hand, take a look at Bill Gates or Elon Musk. Both are relatively quiet, intellectual, and introverted. Yet, they successfully lead two of the wealthiest business empires on the planet. Too much of leadership is learned to rely much at all on innate skills or personality traits.

3. Your Strengths Can Make up For Your Weaknesses

This can be both good and bad advice. It really depends on how it’s taken, and how it is applied. It can be quite problematic when a manager believes they can simply ignore where they are lacking, and that they can simply push through on the basis of what they are good at. That’s not realistic. It’s also the formula for dealing with the same issues and failures over and over again. A great leader can recognize their shortcomings and are willing to take steps to learn and improve.

On the other hand, no leader can be all things. It’s perfectly fine if a leader is lacking certain skills or is simply not suited for certain tasks. They are whether or not they recognize this, and whether or not they are willing to delegate those tasks to others. A great leader doesn’t need to understand the complexities of expanding overseas for example. They can delegate that to someone familiar with translation and localization to read translation reviews. On the other hand, if they recognize that their team needs them to have those skills, they can work to develop them.

4. Your Team Should See You Putting in The Hard Work

Picture this. The store is full and customers are getting impatient. Lines are backed up, and clerks are desperately trying to stay on top of things. Nobody could have predicted these crowds. This was supposed to be a great day, but now the mood is turning stressful and sour.

Suddenly, the manager appears. He throws on an apron and opens up another check lane. He rolls up his sleeves and ensures everyone that it’s going to be alright. He Invites customers to enter his lane. He shouts some words of encouragement to his team. His mere presence is a blessing. Customers appreciate the extra assistance. Morale on the team increases as they realize the boss is willing to get their hands dirty.

This sounds great, but it’s the stuff of fiction. Employees don’t need leaders to do their jobs for them. More often than not doing so is either an opportunistic stunt or simply poorly thought out. Workers need managers to solve problems, remove roadblocks, and plan for the future. They need to be empowered to do their jobs. Any time a leader is doing something that an employee is able to do, they are wasting both their talents and those of the team members.

5. Great Leaders Stick to Their rules

Managers are often told that leaders should exhibit power and determination. They should create a game plan and stick to it. Criticism and feedback should be treated as static and a distraction. After all, it’s the ability to come up with a plan of attack, then follow through with it, that makes a leader. Isn’t it? Compromise is for the weak.

Not only is this bad advice, but it’s also the kind of advice that when followed creates mistrust and resentment in the workplace. Who wants to work for someone who won’t seek feedback, or who stubbornly sticks to a plan that isn’t working? A good leader puts success above ego and is always willing to change course in the face of new evidence.


When leaders or potential leaders receive advice that is poorly thought out, half-baked, or simply wrong everyone suffers. Whether it’s the wrong people being encouraged to take on leadership roles, the right people being shut out of these roles, or simply creating bad habits in leaders, the organization pays a cost. As an extension of that, so do the team members and customers. By learning to identify bad advice and either reframing it in ways that are useful or dismissing that advice altogether, potential leaders can truly be developed into formidable ones.

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