You Need to Stop Believing in These Leadership Myths Now




Many in the corporate world believe in leadership myths. Most of these myths are untrue and based on mere observations.

That is why I have decided to debunk several leadership myths in today's article.

To begin with, I think of leaders as people who continuously inspire others to become better versions of themselves inside an organization and beyond.

John Maxwell once said,

#Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less.

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So are you excited to debunk these leadership myths with me?

Let's jump to it!


Title & Position Translate to Leadership

Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It’s about one life influencing another. - John C. Maxwell

Leaders don't have titles. What do I mean? Many of us think that only the ones with titles and positions on the chart are the only leaders of an organization.

I don't see it this way.

This current view of leadership is very one-dimensional, and I want to crush this leadership myth to the ground!

I want to emphasize that leadership, in reality, is multidimensional. Anyone in an organization has the power and responsibility to lead another.

You should always inspire and empower your team members to lead whenever necessary. Help them cultivate the required skills to lead despite their title. I believe that it is the most effective leadership development tool.


When No One Complains They Must Be Happy

We all have activities or situations that we avoid because we’re afraid or feel uncomfortable. Those are the ones we need to tackle first, and with gusto. Embrace discomfort, and you will triumph with confidence. - Corinn Price

Let’s face it; leaders are very intimidating and sometimes scary. As a result, team members choose to keep their concerns to themselves or talk to each other about it.

As a leader, you don’t want to be the last person to learn about these concerns. Your people should feel comfortable about channeling their complaints straight to you.

Also, no organization is perfect, and complaints are inevitable, so it’s your job as a leader to ask appropriate questions to understand the real pulse of the organization.


Leadership = Management

Managers can achieve compliance from their employees, which is merely getting people to do what they’re supposed to do. But when managers lead their people to truly commit to their work, they get them to do MORE because they want to, not because they have to. Commitment = engagement. - Dawn Motsiff

Leadership is different from management. Great managers aren't always great leaders.

Here are a few notable differences between a leader and a manager:


  • create a vision.
  • spark change.
  • are self-aware and unique.
  • are willing to take risks.
  • keep focused on the big picture.
  • learn something new every day.
  • construct relationships.
  • conduct coaching sessions.
  • have loyal and dedicated employees.


  • establish goals.
  • control the status quo.
  • copy others and adapt and adopt others’ leadership style.
  • control or avoid risk and problems.
  • work on short-term goals.
  • rely on their existing talents.
  • build systems.
  • assign tasks and provide guidance.

Do you see the difference between leadership and management now?


Leaders Must Be Extroverted & Outspoken

Introverts like being introverts. We are drawn to ideas, we are passionate observers, and for us, solitude is rich and generative. - Laurie Helgoe

You don't have to be extremely outspoken and extroverted to be an effective leader. If you identify as an introvert, then your team could use you.

Here's a list of leadership qualities that introverts possess:

  • They have excellent quiet reflection skills.
  • They are good at active listening.
  • They're great at self-affirmation.
  • They’re realists.
  • They can remain objective.

A few examples of introverted leaders are Larry Page, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein.

Oh yes! Introverts can make great leaders.


Leaders Are Successful by Controlling Others

Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself - your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers. - Dee Hock

Leadership is about coaching, motivating, inspiring, and engaging people to become successful. If you take leadership as a way to control others, then you are more of a dictator than a leader.

Effective leaders encourage others to lead, be more creative, take ownership, and be responsible for accomplishing the vision of the organization.

However, how do you know if you are a control freak? Well, here are warning signs that you may be a controlling leader:

  • Your team struggles to share new ideas.
  • You think you’re wonderful.
  • You always know you’re right.
  • You control information.
  • You are part of every decision.
  • You can’t let go of the reins.
  • You are the final authority on every decision.

Great Leaders Are Born That Way

Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile. - Vince Lombardi

If you believe that leaders are born not made or leadership is innate, not developed, then you better think again!

The truth is that education and experience can develop an average Joe into an effective leader.

We can be influential leaders by taking full responsibility for our actions and skills and be willing to commit to anything that our organization asks us to do. 

Also, take note that a title does not make someone a leader. Just because you're the president of the company doesn't mean you are a good leader.


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Leaders Don't Make Mistakes

If you’re not making some notable mistakes along the way, you’re certainly not taking enough business and career chances. - Sallie Krawcheck

I am not perfect! You are not perfect! Nobody is perfect!

I know it's cliche, but it's true. Leaders are not immune to committing mistakes. In many cases, their mistakes are much more visible than most.

Here are a few tips on how to handle mistakes:

  • Acknowledge your mistakes
    When you make a mistake, never try to cover it up. Don't blame others either. Admit it and own it instead.
  • Learn from your mistakes
    You learn from your mistakes, so you don't repeat them. Use your mistakes as a learning experience to better decision making, better creativity, and stronger self-education.
  • Teach others from your mistakes.
    The people around you can learn a thing or two from your mistakes, so don't be shy to share them. Share the valuable lessons you've learned. It's a great way to build connection and trust within the workplace.
  • Move beyond your mistakes.
    The most crucial tip in handling a mistake is to learn how to move on from it. Never dwell on a mistake because it will suck up your time and energy.

Always remember that everyone makes mistakes, but leaders take responsibility for theirs and move on.


Leaders Are Fearless

Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it. - Judy Blume

No one has walked on earth without fear. Even Superman is afraid of kryptonite!

Fear is a strong and natural human emotion. In leadership, it warns leaders when there's danger lurking.

Please take note that everyone experiences fear; the only difference is that leaders act in spite of their fear.


Leaders Have All The Answers

I don't claim to know everything. I claim to be a seeker of knowledge. - Marie Osmond

Leaders don't know everything, and they don't need to know everything!

It's a leadership myth that scares new and upcoming leaders. Why? Because they falsely believe that because they will be leading a team, everyone will depend on them for solutions to any problem that comes up. 

Also, it's a myth that frustrates current leaders. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It can cripple teams from utilizing their knowledge and skills.
  • It kills their expertise and growth.
  • It eliminates the purpose of team collaboration.

Not knowing everything is an excellent growth mindset that any leader should have. Plus, it's a great way to practice humility in your organization.


Great Leaders Don't Fail

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. - Henry Ford

Failure is one of humanity's biggest fears, and as a leader, the fear of failure is personally, financially, and logically motivated.

Here are fantastic reasons why leaders need to embrace failure:

  • Failure is a learning experience.
  • Failure will make you more resilient.
  • Failure is proof that no one is perfect.
  • Failure will make you realize that even the most celebrated leaders failed at some point.

Remember this; leadership is not about perfection. It's about not being shamed by failure. Leadership is about learning the most valuable lessons from failure and not failing for the same reason twice.


Leaders Must Always Be “On”

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. - Maya Angelou

Leaders burnout and they need time off too!

Accept that you are human and not a machine. Be sure to set boundaries and learn how to say NO when you need to.

All work and no play can lead to:


  • ZERO energy!
  • ZERO focus!
  • ZERO creativity!

It's vital to take time to reflect and focus on other things that matter equally to you like exercising, family, friends, a hobby, or taking your dog for a walk.

These activities can help you clear your mind and de-stress.


Only The Ones With Leadership Experience Can Lead

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more; you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams

Although experience plays a vital role in leadership, it's not the most important thing.

There will always be someone within your current pool of talents who has the potential to be a great leader.

It's good to have a leader with experience, but it's great to give someone else a chance to step up and lead the organization in the right direction.

And that's it! Those are the leadership myths that I want to debunk today.

Remember that leaders are those who take responsibility for their actions and the actions of others.

When we debunk these crazy leadership myths and explore new definitions, we will be able to bring out the best in everyone.

Check out the recommended leadership resources below to learn more about leadership.

Recommended Leadership Resources

8 Myths of Leadership

5 Myths Of Leadership

Top Leadership Quotes to Motivate You Today

So what do you think about this one? Do you know other leadership myths that need to be debunked?

Let's discuss in the comments section below.

Also, it would be an honor if you think this article is worth sharing to your friends, family, and colleagues.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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