A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Five Myths of Leadership

There are 5 leadership myths that just might be holding you back from Surging Forward.

Myth Number One – Leaders Are Born, Not Made

You make think that in order to be a leader you have to have a lot of money, or have attended all the right schools, but all of this is a myth.  Look at Abraham Lincoln.  His father worked odd jobs and then leased some farm land.  Most of Abraham Lincoln’s education was largely self-taught, but yet he became the Sixteenth President of the United States.

How about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?  He grew up in a sad time of segregation, but he did not let that stop him.  He went on to become the most visible spokesman and leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

The truth is very few leaders are born leaders.  Most people learn leadership by trying and failing, but then not giving up.  They re-evaluate why they failed and make up their minds to do things differently next time.

Myth Number Two – Leadership is a Rare Skill

Nothing can be farther from the truth.  If you watch a group of children playing you will quickly see one of them start stepping forward and telling the others what to do.  When the children get bored with this game, another child will start guiding the group.  Even if there are only two children playing you will see them throwing out ideas like “let’s do this, this way” or “I want to do this.”  Again, leadership is learned through trial and error.

Myth Number Three – Leaders are Gifted and Outgoing

This is also untrue because many leaders are introverts.  Introverts have a knack for abstract thinking as introverts only like to deal in what they know and tend to focus on the long term. They do not rely on what others think of them, and they tend to be more quiet and reserved.  This is why many tend to think of them as being withdrawn, but this also means they are able to figure out how things work.  Many have been very influential; look at Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg.

Myth Number Four – Leaders Lead by Brute Force

This is the definition of a bad leader.  This is a bully.  A good leader encourages and counsels.  They earn respect of those they lead.  A good leader is willing to share his or her knowledge.  They are willing to lead by example.  When a job needs to be done, a good leader is willing to get his or her hands dirty, not just ordering others to do it.  Good leaders challenge people to transform their lives.

Myth Number Five – Leaders are Only Found at the Top of a Company

Again, this is far from the truth because we are all leaders.  We are leaders in our homes, families, at work and around the neighborhood.  If you are a parent you are a leader.  Sometimes you do not even realize that people are watching you and following your example.

Sometimes in learning to lead we make mistakes.  We just need to admit our mistake and try again.  Little by little it gets easier.  And we need to realize that at times we need to turn to others for advice and counsel.  Leadership is not about power, but about servanthood.  Not to preach, but look at the leadership example of Jesus Christ.  A very humble leader, and yet whether you believe or don’t, look at the effect he has had throughout history.

Leadership is about encouraging others to Surge higher than they ever thought possible.

Until next time, keep Surging Forward.

You can listen to this podcast in the 23-minute clip below, or listen to other Surging Forward podcasts on Ballentine’s YouTube page.