5 Leadership Myths: Uncovering the Truth about Exceptional Leadership

July 14, 2010

Leadership can’t be taught– or so it’s been said. But according to one management consultant, that’s just one of several myths about leadership that need to be debunked.

“Leadership comes from inside. Anyone desiring to be a better leader on the outside must work on being a better leader on the inside,” says leadership coach Kathy Ryan.

Ryan stresses the importance of having “a set of fundamental values and beliefs” in the development of leadership skills.

Ryan, president and founder of Pinnacle Coaching Group LLC , has more than 25 years of human resources and coaching experience. This experience has convinced her that leaders struggle to build the necessary leadership influence and trust because they are operating under a flawed belief system or set of management myths. Such flawed beliefs and myths get in the way of a leader’s potential for success and growth, she says.

During her career, Ryan has identified the five most common misconceptions or “myths” surrounding the role of “leader.” In a recent podcast for Insurance Journal, Ryan exposed and debunked these myths with the realities of effective leadership. The five myths and their realities are:

  • Myth #1: Your title and position make you a leader.
  • Reality #1: True leadership comes from the influence gained based on your quality of character and consistency of behavior.
  • Myth #2: How you behave outside of work does not affect your ability to lead.
  • Reality #2: Your behavior outside of work absolutely affects your success as a leader.
  • Myth #3: Leaders have all the answers.
  • Reality #3: The best leaders know there are limits to their knowledge and are not afraid to admit it and ask for help.
  • Myth #4: Your team is there to support you.
  • Reality #4: The best leaders have a servant attitude, thinking first about their team.
  • Myth #5: Leadership can’t be taught. The lucky ones are born with “the right stuff.”
  • Reality #5: Everyone can be taught the skills and behaviors needed to be an effective leader.

“If you are managing according to any of these beliefs, eliminate them immediately as they will limit your effectiveness and your ability to reach your full potential as a leader. A faulty belief can cause a serious crack in an otherwise solid leadership foundation. The most successful leaders understand they are never done learning and growing,” says Ryan.

The Ryan leadership myths podcast is available for listening from the Insurance Journal Academy of Insurance.

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