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The Five Myths About Leadership

john maxwell leadership leadership Sep 27, 2023
The Five Myths About Leadership

The concept of leadership is often cloaked in misconceptions and myths, leading to a skewed understanding of what truly makes a leader. Here's a deep dive into five of the most prevalent myths surrounding leadership, aiming to provide clarity to EOS Integrators and leadership teams.

1. The Management Myth
The belief that leadership and management are synonymous is common, but erroneous. While leadership is about influencing people to follow a vision, management is centered on upholding systems and processes. As Lee Iacocca aptly said, "Sometimes even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog, waiting to see where the dog wants to go so that he can take him there." True leadership involves instigating positive change and directing people towards a new vision.

2. The Entrepreneur Myth
Not every successful salesperson or entrepreneur is a leader. Taking the example of Ron Popeil, the ingenious mind behind Ronco commercials, we see an individual with remarkable entrepreneurial spirit. With products accumulating over $300 million in sales, Popeil's persuasive abilities are undeniable. However, persuasion for a moment doesn't equate to long-term influence or leadership.

3. The Knowledge Myth
"Knowledge is power," declared Sir Francis Bacon. However, power doesn't directly translate to leadership. High IQ levels or vast knowledge doesn't inherently create a leader. Numerous academicians and thinkers possess unparalleled intelligence, but their leadership abilities might be non-existent.

4. The Pioneer Myth
Being the first to achieve something doesn't automatically grant one the status of a leader. Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to ascend Mount Everest, is a prime example. While many have followed in his footsteps, he wasn't the definitive leader of his expedition. Leadership requires not only being at the forefront but also inspiring others to intentionally follow one's lead and vision.

5. The Position Myth
Possibly the most misconstrued belief is that leadership is determined by position. But as Stanley Huffty rightly said, "It's not the position that makes the leader; it's the leader that makes the position." The dramatic instance of Maurice Saatchi's exit from Saatchi & Saatchi, which saw the company's stock plummet, serves as a testament to the Law of Influence. Even without a title, Saatchi's leadership influence remained intact.

In essence, leadership transcends titles, intelligence, pioneering feats, entrepreneurial successes, and managerial roles. At its core, leadership is the influence one has over others.


**Credit to John Maxwell and his book "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership".



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