True or false: A great leader should have all the answers.executive leadership qualities

Many people believe the myth of the Super-CEO, one who can make tough decisions in a single bound and whip a company into shape all on their own. The truth is a good leader does not have all the answers. In fact, the best executive leadership qualities mean a leader practices careful deliberation and accepts feedback from others. Why, then, do executives so often feel they must have all the answers?

The Myth That Great Leaders Have All the Answers

The stereotype of the Super-CEO in traditional business culture glamorizes the tough, crisply decisive, unwavering leader who almost inherently knows the right thing to do in any given situation. After all, nobody rose to the top by being wishy-washy or paralyzed by fear and indecision.

Many leaders are afraid to ask for help. They think it makes them a weak or unqualified executive. They fear losing control of the situation. Or, they may even feel guilty asking for help if it means they have to pay that person back somehow. Many leaders don’t want to be a burden to other people. Others simply prefer doing things their own way and just refuse to ask for help.

However, not having all the answers doesn’t equate to spinelessness. Great leaders don’t do it alone.

There’s Power in Asking for Help

An old proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” You can also apply this belief to a company, organization, or any project you’re running. People with the best executive leadership qualities understand success can’t be done alone. In fact, asking for help reveals strength, not weakness.

It can be refreshing for a team to hear from a leader, “I just don’t know what to do in this situation. Any suggestions?” By doing so, the executive can actually build the company culture by showing their human side. Here are some benefits of leaders asking for help.

You can stay focused on the goal

If you experience some difficulty asking for help, consider this: when you put every little task on yourself, you can become distracted from the end goal. However, when you ask for help and start delegating tasks, you can then maintain focus and energy on the project’s vision. You also show your team that you’re thoughtfully taking the time to weigh the decision and any potential ramifications, as opposed to acting rashly.

Your team has the opportunity to shine

Asking for help can also strengthen your team. Being open to hearing their solutions will give them opportunities to share their ideas for solutions. If this routine is consistent, they’ll begin to understand that they are valued in your company. Your listening ear will show the organization various viewpoints are being considered.

You build trust amongst your team

Ideal executive leadership qualities revolve around having your team’s trust. Do they know that you are there to support them, or do they think you’re in it for your sole profit? When you ask your team for help or support, it shows that you trust them, their ideas, and their expertise. Your vulnerability can strengthen your relationship with those in your support system. You’ll build a stronger team of people who understand their role and their value in your company. At the very least, it can be an opportunity to allow team members to voice their concerns.

You can learn a lot from a business coach

A good executive coach does not teach leaders how to have all the answers. Rather, he teaches leaders how to ask the right questions—how to know what they need to know. An executive coach shouldn’t provide the answer to an executive’s dilemma any more than a football coach should get on the field and play quarterback. 

Instead, a good coach will teach self-reliance and awareness. Once a leader is fully aware of what is at stake in making any tough decision, then, and only then, can he or she gain control.

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