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Are You A Leader? Five Myths About Leadership You Need To Know

By Gary Hosey

Leadership. It’s critical for success in every aspect of life – from our career development to parenting and everything in between. But what exactly is leadership? And what does it take to become a leader?

Chances are you’re already a leader – you just might not recognise it yet. Mindsets are shifting when it comes to defining leadership today. Forbes recently described leadership as “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” Gone are the days where leadership was associated exclusively with authority, power and hierarchy. This refreshing view is a reminder that anyone – yes, anyone – has the potential to be a leader in today’s world.

Intrigued? Here are five myth busters about leadership that will make you think twice about yourself, your actions and your relationships with others.

Myth 1: A leader is someone with a title

A title might sound great, but it’s by no means a fast track to ‘leadership’ status. Contrary to what you may have heard in the past, you don’t need a certain qualification or title to become a leader. Your family, neighbourhood, gym and social media networks all have natural leaders – most of which don’t have a title. What they do have is high Emotional Intelligence (EI). They’re able to recognise and manage their own feelings and emotions to better influence others in a way that encourages positive change. Click here to find out more about EI.

Myth 2: A leader has seniority

Much like a title, leadership doesn’t automatically happen when you reach a certain level of power or authority. You may have worked your way up to a senior role, but the job is just that – a senior role. Sure, you’d hope to find natural leadership at the top. But studies are showing time and time again that employees (of any level) with a high EI are increasingly outperforming those with just a high IQ. A 40-year study by UC Berkley PHDs found that Emotional Intelligence was the key differentiator between mid-level management and outstanding leadership success – regardless of intellectual intelligence. Click here to find out more.

Myth 3: A leader has certain personality attributes

When you think of leadership, you naturally think of extroverted personality types with plenty of charisma. But this couldn’t be further from reality. Yes, there are plenty of charismatic and extroverted leaders, but these traits aren’t intrinsically linked with leadership success.   Also, there is growing evidence and studies that confirm introverted leaders achieve even more success than extroverted ones! Rather, it’s the ability to recognise and manage feelings and emotions – of both yourself and others – that facilitates leadership success. And the good news is that anyone can learn to enhance their EI capability. Click here to see how.

Myth 4: A leader is a manager

They often get bunched together, but it’s important to highlight here that leadership is not synonymous with management. Managers predominantly manage things, whereas leaders lead people. These roles often overlap, but if you’re not a manager, that’s not to say you’re not – or don’t have the ability to become – a leader. Click here to find out more about successful leadership and people management.

Myth 5: A leader is someone from the corporate world

Leadership is heavily associated with the business domain – and a quick Google search will confirm this. But as we explored in our first myth, leadership comes in many different guises today. It’s a role that’s open to anyone from any background in a range of scenarios – from personal to professional – and it’s there for the taking.

In what area could you develop the emotional intelligence and essential skills to enhance your leadership capability (become a leader)? Click here to find out how you can take the next step.

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