5 Leadership Misconceptions Drawing Young Leaders Backward
Very often a leader’s humility, integrity and flexibility are taken as weaknesses in today’s world. As per my experience in leadership, the biggest leadership misconceptions are that whenever the word leadership is discussed, people usually start thinking about leaders like Jinnah, Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. But in truth, everyone can be a leader from where they are, regardless of their role in an organization. Leading is taking responsibility for your actions, raising concerns and being an example to others.
I believe character makes the difference between principled, positive, and influential leadership. I believe the ability to lead comes from a place of influence, empowering and supporting others in their decisions, and by providing knowledge and guidance. Leadership can be as small as setting an example for others, or as big as leading an organization to success. In the past, leadership was often observed as a command and control behavior but leadership has evolved. Those command and control leaders are becoming less and less successful. Leadership that shows inspiration, hope, support, empowerment etc. are the traits that people are drawn to.
Listed below are the 5 common leadership misconceptions:
Leaders are born
Contrary to popular belief, leadership is not an innate trait. It has to be developed. No one is endowed with good leadership simply by nature. Anyone, at anytime, can exercise leadership when the proper principles are applied. A person might indeed have some personality traits and predispositions — such as organizational skills, sociability, the power to motivate and influence, etc. but leadership itself appears to involve much more than just possessing certain desirable characteristics. The extraordinary circumstances that surround them propel them to become effective leaders. You can learn leadership skills by consistent efforts.
The title makes the leader
Often, people with titles are not leaders, and people without titles have the greatest leadership skills. Leading is influencing others to act. It does not require any title. People who can influence others’ opinions and actions are leaders even if they have no title. It requires relationship, understanding other people, and the passion to make a difference. People in important roles all wield tremendous power and authority. But leadership is more about the person than the position. A leader must earn the right to be followed and it is called the Leadership Capital. In the movie “Brave heart”, William Wallace states, “Men don’t follow titles; they follow courage.”
Adults alone are leaders
Leadership has nothing to do with age; it has everything to do with influence. As mentioned earlier, anyone can be a leader. And not only are the young “leaders of the future”; they are leaders of today. God wants to use young people in the present and in the future to influence others for His kingdom. Irphan Ghani states; “that leaders do not always give orders but more often they inspire others to do what is required of them in a given situation.”
Leadership is synonymous with power
You can acquire power over people in all sorts of ways, including through coercion and manipulation. And while many might regard the noteworthy leaders among us as powerful people indeed, just having power and sway over others doesn’t make you a strong or good leader. Leadership is more than power. It’s the power to influence and motivate. It’s also the skill to organize and unite. Leaders inspire. And they mobilize others into action.
Leaders don’t connect with their followers
It is only through relationship that leaders and followers can function effectively. The best leaders recognize that relationships are essential. They also recognize that they are role models for others. That may limit activities they engage in with others, but it need not reduce the need to care about other individuals and work for their well-being.
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I am the Founder and President of Young Leaders Arena. Formerly I was the Chief Editor and program co-ordinator at Walktall. Author of the upcoming Book; Success Recipe: Start up Tool-kit for exceptional business growth. I have written numerous articles on both leadership, business start up, entrepreneurship. I have served as thought leader in many societies and organisations, including the Forum on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. I obtained my post graduate from the prestigious University of Port Harcourt. I also have a Bachelors from the Delta State University, Abraka. Twitter & Instagram: @Charlessholokwu