There are plenty of conceptions and myths that PEOPLE embrace about leaders and leadership. Here are five common ones
- The management myth:
A widespread misunderstanding is that leading and managing are the same. Up until a few years ago, books that claimed to be on leadership were often about management. The main difference between the two is that leadership is about influencing people to follow, while management focuses on maintaining systems and processes. As ceo lee lacoca wryly commented “sometimes even the best manager is like the little biy with a big dog, waiting to see where the dog wants to go so that he can take him there”.
The best way to test whether a person can lead rather than just manage is to ask him to create a positive change. Managers can maintain direction but they cant change it. To move people in a bew direction YOU need influence.
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2. The enterpreneurmyth:
Frequently, people assume that all salespeople and enterpreneurs are leaders. But thats not always the case. YOU may remember the ronco commercials that appeared on television years ago. They sold items such as the veg-o-matic, pocket fisherman, and inside the egg scrambler. These products were brain children of an enterpreneur Ron popeil. Called salesman of the century, he also appeared in numerous infomercials for products such as sprayon relief for baldness and food dehydrating devices.
Pepeil is certainly enterprising, innovative, and success, especially if you measure him by $300 million in sales his products have earned. But that doesnt make him a leader. People may be buying what he has to sell but they are not following. At best he is able to persuade people for a moment, but he holds no long term influence with them.
3. The knowledge myth
Sir francis bacon said “knowledge is power”. Most people, believing Power is the essence of leadership, naturally assume that those who possess knowledge and intelligence are leaders. But that isnt automatically true. YOU can visit any major university and meet brillant research scientists and philosopherswhose ability to think is so high that that its off on the charts but whose ability to lead is so low that it doesnt even regidter on the chart. IQ doesnt necesarily equate to leadership.
4. The pioneer myth:
Another misconception is that anyone who is out in front of the crowd is a leader but being the first isnt always the same thing as leading. For example sor Edmund hillary was the first man to reach the summit of mount Everest,. Since his historic ascent in in 1953, many have followed him in achieving that feat. But that doesnt make hillary a leader. He wasnt even the leader on that particular expedition. John Hunt was. To be a leader one has not only to be out on the front but also have people intentionally comong behind him, following his lead, and Acting on his vision.
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5. The position myth
A common myth about leadership is that leadership is based on position but its not. Stanley huffty affirmed “its not the position that makes a leader, its the leader that makes the position
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Written by JOHN C MAXWELL /the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership