Prepare for the leadership journey of your life. Today, we are just getting our most important piece of equipment ready: our mind.
John Maxwell, my former boss, is famous for his answer to the question “Are leaders born or are they made?” John simply says, “I’ve never met a leader who wasn’t born.” When some young adventurers were exploring old towns in Europe, they asked a local, "Where any famous people ever born here.” The kind man simply replied, “No, no famous people were born here… only babies.”
If you’ve been around LeaderTribe long, you know that Kouzes and Posner are the greatest leadership researchers of all time. They have over 30 years of research proving certain things beyond the shadow of a doubt. In their book Learning Leadership they note that, yes, all leaders are born—and so are you.
But much of our leadership potential has been sidetracked by at least one of 5 Leadership Myths. Let’s look at a couple of them today, then the other 3 next week. WARNING: YOU MUST PUT THESE TO DEATH IN YOUR MIND ONCE AND FOR ALL.
“I DON’T HAVE THE LEADERSHIP GIFT OR TALENT” (Myth!)
Many people, probably even most people believe they need certain gifts, talents and special training to become effective leaders. Some even believe that leadership IS a talent. Wrong! Not true. It’s true that some people are bigger or smarter or better looking or have a big personality, so people seem to be drawn to them. How many of those turn out to be great leaders? Do they know what to do anymore with someone who is shy and unattractive compared to the fashion models? Leadership is not a trait. Leadership is a set of exemplary behaviors.
"I’VE NEVER BEEN PROMOTED TO A LEADERSHIP POSITION" (Myth!)
I’ve seen, encountered, and even worked for some horrible leaders… who were in leadership positions! A position has never made anyone a leader!!! It is simply a title of a role that has some responsibility, maybe even over a team of people. You have known people like that—you had to follow them at work, but you wouldn’t volunteer to follow them on the battlefield! Some of the best, most visionary and compelling leaders don’t hold lofty positions. But they are able to bring out the best in me and you. Leadership is not a trait. Leadership is a set of exemplary behaviors.
If you will spend 5 minutes—only 5 minutes meditating on the fact that leadership is not a talent, and leadership is not a position, you will be better prepared for our leadership journey to come.
If you take the journey, and take it seriously, this might be the most important year of your life.
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