VIDEO: Leadership Myths to Toss in the Garbage

VIDEO: Leadership Myths to Toss in the Garbage

A lot of myths we tell ourselves about leadership, we can just toss in the garbage because they are not true! Today, that’s what I want to talk about today. Leadership myths we can toss in the trash.

One of the big ones is that in order to be a leader, you have to be a super extroverted person, out in front, talking to people, making speeches, and being the life of the party. That’s just not true. A lot of leaders are actually introverted. They can turn it on and be friendly and talk people up, but they go home and need space to recharge.

It’s a common myth, and it’s one that stops a lot of people- myself included- from going out and taking charge and taking risks. Instead we say “I’m not extroverted enough,” “I’m too introverted” to go out and be in front of people.

Well, guess what. Yes you can.

You can go out and talk to people, give the speech, you have to take care of yourself before and after, to do the things that recharge you. Leaders aren’t always out front, either. There are plenty of people that lead from behind the scenes too.

Another myth is that Leaders have to have all the answers, all the time, to every question. Absolutely not true! Every president has a cabinet full of advisors, politicians have aides. Those people are leading from the middle and from the back, and they’re people we don’t see.

No one expects anyone to have all the answers about everything. It’s not possible. It’s OK to say “I don’t know, let me look that up,” or “I don’t know, what do you think? What is your experience?” Those are great questions that leaders ask. They know they don’t have all the answers and don’t need to pretend.

It’s actually a mark of confidence to say “I don’t know, I’ll do the research and let you know,” or “I’ve never experienced that, tell me about our experience and we’ll find a solution.” Leaders need to be able to listen and turn to trusted people when they don’t have the answers. 

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Another myth to toss is that leaders have to be in charge. For example, thinking only a team captain, coach, politician, etc. can be a leader. It’s not true. Yes, those people ARE leaders, and they might be in charge of some things, but everyone on the team can be a leader. Other players encourage others, keep morale up, make snap decisions, etc. Just like the captain! You don’t have to have to be an authority to be a leader. 

Being a volunteer, being a team player, being coachable and willing to learn makes you a leader- even if you don’t have a fancy title or soapbox to stand on or a huge audience hanging on every world.

You can do the right thing, wherever you are, and THAT is leadership. That’s awesome because everybody can do that. Everyone can do the right thing, regardless of their station in life.

One last leadership myth that drives me up a wall is that leaders have to be perfect. This goes with some of the other myths too, that leaders are in the spotlight, so they can never make a mistake or be caught off guard or not knowing something.

That is a lot of pressure that no one in the history of Earth is going to be able to live up to! Let’s just dump that right now. You’re allowed to make mistakes. What makes someone a leader is not never making a mistake. It’s being able to accept making a mistake, sincerely apologizing and changing their behavior so they don’t make that mistake again.

Leadership is about being flexible. It’s the ability to say “I really messed up. I’m sorry, that’s not OK and I will not do it again. Can you forgive me?” That’s leadership! Not “everything I do is perfect and wonderful, I never make a mistake. Everything’s great all the time!” It’s not reality either!

The four myths we can toss in the trash, light the trash can on fire, and roll down a hill are: leaders always have to be out in front and extroverted, leaders need to have all the answers, yo need a fancy title or a roll to be a leader, and that you have to be perfect. Not one of those is true.

The truth is that every single one of us is a leader in our own way. Everyone of us has potential to be any kind of leader we want to be. There are people that stand up and give speeches and motivate people that way. There are those who do activism to bring attention to causes. There are some who volunteer and give themselves as a form of service. There’s also the quiet kind of leadership that looks like going to the doctor’s with a friend because she’s scared and needs a friend. Those are all things every single one of us can do.

I truly believe everyone has that potential, that gift, that spark inside of them to be a leader. And you know what, you don’t need to be a leader at all times, in every moment of your life. When you step into that role, make the things that you do matter, and acknowledge that what you do does matter.

Let’s embrace ourselves where we are, and acknowledge the things we can do, right now, from where we are at this minute as leadership.

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