The Myth of Leadership

The Myth of Leadership

Do me a favor.

Close your eyes.

Picture a leader in action.

Take a moment and do it now.

What did you see when you picture a leader?

First Lady encouraging young people?

football coach energizing a team at halftime?

A charismatic media mogul?

CEO at a board meeting?

Now open your eyes.

What did you see?

If you’re like most people, you probably saw someone in the limelight, someone in front.

Perhaps you saw:

Michelle Obama?
Ted Lasso?
Oprah Winfrey?
Richard Branson?

The reality is, leadership isn’t always about being in front.

It’s beneficial to know the real secret of leadership; is that it happens all the time, almost everywhere you look.

Disappointed?

Perhaps you were expecting something with a little more pizzazz?

That’s not surprising, because for the past hundreds of years or so,

we’ve been embedded with the idea of bold leadership.

You know, Odysseus,
Martin Luther King, Wonder Woman
Captain Sully,  all that good stuff.

We’ve become accustomed to leadership being defined as dramatic and superhuman by journalists looking for a good rags-to-riches story.

Many of us are stopped on a daily basis from stepping into leadership because we’ve been sold an idea of what it is to be a leader.

And it’s often unrealistic and intimidating.

We’ve lost the ability to see true leadership for what it really is; an almost always:

  • un-glorious
  • headline-free
  • mundane activity

that takes place every minute of every day in uncountable different ways.

  • It’s a husband offering to take both kids to school, while you take a global leadership call at 5 am
  • It’s a teacher, corralling a group of children on a field trip.
  • It’s a nurse, correcting a sleepy resident doctor before he prescribes the wrong medicine.
  • It’s a teammate who says yes to brainstorming ways to make the project run smoother.

Leadership is helping any group of two or more people achieves their common goals.

These teams can be very small: your marriage, your family, your friends.

Leadership can happen in an instant.

If you do something that helps a group move closer to a common goal, that’s leadership.

Another myth? Leadership isn’t a permanent state.

Even when a group or team has a formally designated leader, like in Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) with a Global Chairman and Board of Directors.

The Chairman and Board of Directors don’t have a monopoly over leadership.

Leadership can happen when you volunteer to help a new member or sign up for a role last minute.

Instead of looking for perfect opportunities to make a difference, leaders should embrace small moments that can create big changes.

Leadership happens formally and informally.

Leadership doesn’t only occur in board rooms, or on the sports field.

Leadership happens when groups of two or more people come together in an instant around short goals.

Leadership can show up at a three-day strategic retreat or a brainstorm over zoom with a colleague about how to ship a sample product to Beijing.

Leadership isn’t about charisma, it isn’t about genius, it isn’t about position.

Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter where I talk about the two basic skills a leader needs!

What other myths are there around leadership?

Share! I’d love to hear from you!

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“A leader is best
when people barely
know he exists,
when his work is done,
his aim fulfilled,
they will say:
we did it ourselves.”
— Lao Tzu

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The Mayor of LA is hosting a Virtual Event theme: Grow, Thrive, Flourish.

I will be moderating the Money Mindset Panel along with some incredible women entrepreneurs/leaders.

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“Become the kind of
leader that people would
follow voluntarily,
quite ready even
if you had no
title or position.

— Brian Tracy

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