Debunking and Discussing Leadership Myths: 360 Degree Edition
John C. Maxwell likes to have his bases covered. To that end, he does his best to prepare those he instructs so that they may receive his instruction at their optimal learning level – as opposed to rejecting his wisdom because of a previous buy-in. Good ‘ol John took it upon himself to define the seven most common and relevant myths to leadership, and so in this blog post you will get to see a bit of some opinionated insight thrown onto some of John’s myths.
We will begin with the Position Myth. “I can’t lead if I am not at the top.” Q.1: I choose to define leadership subjectively as influence, so I would argue that you can influence others from ANYWHERE in an organization. It’s true that a position may sometimes contribute to building a leader’s momentum; however, it is not a necessary component to influencing others.
Moving on to the Destination Myth. “When I get to the top, then I’ll learn to lead.” Q.3: It is easy to dream of being a great leader, and, taking it a step further, a great person – however the actualization of fantasies has to be accomplished through instilling values into yourself. I am going to become successful in all my endeavours because of my hunger for growth, and my willingness to ask questions to all my coaches and mentors.
The Influence Myth. “If I were on top, then people would follow me.” Q.2: Personally, I try not to follow and learn from those in powerful positions. I much prefer to look for those that inspire me, and those that are living a piece of the life I want to live – then, all I have to do is take whatever they can give me, and I’m one step closer to living my dreams.
The Inexperience Myth. “When I get to the top, I’ll be in control.” Q.2: In a leadership position or role, your responsibilities begin to go up, proportional to how high you go up the ladder. For example, during the Adventure Trip planning phase, the chairs of each committee need to be careful to consult with various committee members before making hasty decisions. If the chairs do this, they will gain access to a wealth of insight it would be impossible to find by themselves, simply because of the different values and thus different outlooks available from each committee member.
The Freedom Myth. “When I get to the top, I’ll no longer be limited.” Q.1: The Adventure Trip committee chairs are near the top of the food chain during the AT planning phase, but that does not mean they answer to no one. In fact, because of their higher position, they answer to MORE people. They directly report to Ms. Mulder, acting as the liaison between her and the overall committee; they must answer to the queries of the committee members, so as to keep healthy mutual respect and conserve momentum; and, they must answer to each other, because of how closely they are working together.
The Potential Myth. “I can’t reach my potential if I’m not the top leader.” Q.1: Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” What she means by that, is that you must agree to the concept of you being lesser, for you to become lesser. The choice to be inferior is up to you, not the person making the comment. Similarly, a position will only limit your potential if you choose to let it – if you choose to embrace every opportunity for limitless growth, and buy-in to the concept of your own infinite power, then no position can hold you back.
The All-or-Nothing Myth. “If I can’t get to the top, then I won’t try to lead.” Q.1: Honestly, this must be the most foolish myth of them all- to buy into this is to reject a better version of you because of events outside your control. Leadership is influence is power is legacy is respect and is the driving factor of success, in almost all of it’s definitions. To choose ‘not to lead’, is to choose to have less influence among others; is to choose to leave behind less of a legacy; and, ultimately, is to choose to be less successful in all your adventures. Choose growth! Choose the best version of you out of the lineup! No matter where you are in an organization, practice leadership.
Some of these myths are quite closely linked, and often if you buy into one, you buy into multiple. So how do you check if you buying into these Myths, right now? Well, the next time you are considering how you want to achieve something within your organization (committee), consider this: you are ALWAYS a leader, everywhere you are, and you have the potential to create change with others if you embrace the actualization of your best self.
^^Jamie Fajber is a grade 10 TALONS student. He enjoys writing poetry, long walks on the beach, leadership blog posts, and writing short third person bio’s in unnecessary places. He is qualified to chat about leadership because everyone is qualified to chat about leadership.