Today I have a guest blogger. His name is Scott Macke. Learn more about him at the end of this post. He like my father in law is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Our military academies produce great leaders….Lee
Top 10 Leadership Myths Debunked
Leadership takes courage. It’s not easy to stand up for something you believe in. It can be frightening to speak up in a crowd. It’s much easier to just do what you’re told, follow instructions, and fit in.
In today’s article, I will help you overcome your fear of leading by shining a light on what leaders do (and don’t do). I’ll discuss some common leadership myths to help give you a better understanding of what it truly means to lead.
Top 10 Leadership Myths:
Myth #1: Leaders follow instructions. Leaders chart their own course and make their own instructions. They don’t wait to be told what to do.
Myth #2: Leaders want attention. Leaders draw attention to an idea, not themselves. Leaders create an idea and connect people to it.
Myth #3: Leaders invoke fear. If you threaten people, you’re not a leader. You’re a bully. People give leaders their attention when they believe in them and their ideas.
Myth #4: Only the boss can lead. You don’t need a title to lead. You need a good idea and a way to connect people to it.
Myth #5: You need training to lead. You need to believe in something. You need conviction. You don’t need leadership training.
Myth #6: Leaders always stay the course. Leaders don’t do things “because that’s how we’ve always done them.” Leaders make change. If the course isn’t right, they correct it. They improve on the status quo, they don’t protect it.
Myth #7: Managers are leaders. Managers enforce rules, discipline employees, and follow instructions. Leaders get out front and create the future. Managers can be leaders but that’s a choice, not a prerequisite for the job. The organization awards the title of “manager.” The people award the title of “leader.”
Myth #8: Leaders want followers. Leaders want to attract other leaders, not followers. It’s easier to spread a message (and get things done) if you have more leaders on your team than followers.
Myth #9: Leadership is glamorous. Leaders get down and dirty. They call customers. They talk to employees. They find out if the new process is working. They get involved.
Myth #10: You aren’t qualified to lead. You were born to lead. You have something to say. You have an idea. We need to hear it. We need you to lead.
Leadership is about connecting. It’s connecting people to an idea and to each other. Without a vision there is no leader.
In 1928, a passionate cartoonist named Walt Disney created what would become the most popular fictional character of all time – Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse was more than a cartoon character. He was an idea. And people connected with him.
Disney transformed character animation from crudely drawn characters into art. His ability to connect people to his characters (and ideas) made him a leader.
“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” —Walt Disney
How does a customer service rep (with 0 direct reports) become a leader?
Margie is a customer service rep. She thinks outside the box and goes the extra mile to provide excellent service to her customers. The word “no” is not in her vocabulary.
Margie’s unique ideas about customer service get her extraordinary results. She’s excited about her ideas and wants to share them. She emails the other reps at her company and creates a weekly series to spread her ideas.
The other reps like her ideas, implement them, and get better results. They write to Margie with their own unique thoughts and ideas. They share Margie’s ideas with their friends and co-workers. Margie has engaged her team.
Margie is now a leader.
How does a manager become a leader?
Frank is a manager with fifteen direct reports. He is honest, hard-working, and easy to get along with. He supports the company mission and follows instructions.
On the surface, Frank seems happy. But deep down inside he wants to do more. He wants to have an impact. He wants to make a difference.
In his free time, Frank reads personal development books to better himself. He applies the concepts he studies to his job. Suddenly, Frank has a breakthrough. He finds a way to improve the efficiency of his operation and saves the company thousands of dollars.
Frank is passionate about his discovery and conducts a workshop to teach the other managers what he learned. They listen, apply his ideas, and experience their own breakthroughs. The team becomes stronger.
Frank takes it a step further. He creates a blog to share his ideas with anyone who will read them. People connect with him online, read his articles, and apply his ideas to their own lives. They share his articles with their friends and co-workers. Everyone becomes stronger.
Frank is now a leader.
How do you become a leader?
You have an idea. You think about it every day. You don’t know it yet, but your idea will change the world.
To become a leader you need to release your idea. Get it out there so people can learn about it.
What if Walt Disney didn’t share his idea with the world? What if he listened to the people that told him cartoons were silly? That he should become an accountant or doctor instead? There would be no Walt Disney World, and no beautiful memories from the Magic Kingdom. Your daughter wouldn’t be Cinderella for Halloween. The world would be less magical.
Go! Share your idea. Lead! Create Magic.
About the Author
Scott Mackes is a leader and founder of the blog Margin of Excellence. A U.S. Navy veteran and graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Scott’s mission is to help others lead remarkable journeys. You can learn more about Scott on his blog where he shares his unique ideas such as The One Year Self-Directed MBA.