Myths of Leadership


“Leadership” is one of those buzzwords that we often have a hard time relating to. To give us a better idea what it really means, let’s explore some of the most common myths about leadership, as written by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus:

Myth #1: Leadership is a rare skill

“Nothing can be further than the truth. While great leaders may be rare, everyone has leadership potential. More important, people may be leaders in one organization and have quite ordinary roles in another. The truth is, leadership opportunities are plentiful and within reach of most people”

Myth #2: Leaders are born, not made

“Don’t believe it. The truth is, major capacities and competencies of leadership can be learned. We are all educable, if the basic desire to learn is there. This is not to suggest that it is easy to be a leader. There is no simple formula, no rigorous science, no cookbook that leads inexorably to successful leadership. Instead, it is a deeply human process, full of trial and error, victories and defeats, timing and happenstance, intuition, and insight.”

Myth #3: Leaders are charismatic

“Some are, most are not. Charisma is the result of effective leadership, not the other way around. Those who are good at it are granted a certain amount of respect and even awe by their followers, which increases the bond of attraction between them.”

Myth #4: Leadership exists only at the top of an organization

“In fact, the larger the organizations, the more leadership roles it is likely to have.”

Myth #5: Leaders control, direct, prod, and manipulate

“This is perhaps the most damaging myth of all. Leadership is not so much the exercise of power itself as the empowerment of others. Leaders are able to translate intentions into reality by aligning the energies to the organization behind an attractive goal. Leaders lead by pulling rather than pushing; by inspiring rather than ordering; by enabling people to use their own initiative and experiences rather than by denying or constraining their experiences and actions.”

Have you changed your mind about leadership yet?

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