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Shatter the Myths of Leadership Dispelling the Myth

By Ken Canion

Before we begin I want to say that first, we must understand that many people do not maximize their abilities to becoming Real World Leaders because they are under false impressions about leadership. There are many myths about leadership, and it is imperative that we identify these myths, dispel these myths, and liberate the mind before we can start your journey to becoming a Real World Leader.

Imagine you are a painter. Before you can create your masterpiece, you have to have a clean and blank canvas to work. To become a Real World Leader, you have to dispel the myths on leadership out your mind or you risk going about it the wrong way. Let's prepare to paint our masterpiece clearing the  canvas.


Is There Such a Thing as a Natural Born Leader?

Let's begin by identifying just a handful of the character qualities of a great leader:

•  Excellent communicators
•  High Level of Confidence
•  Fearless & Courageous
•  Patient
•  Wise & Knowledgeable

We could probably write a book about history's greatest leaders and their character qualities would undoubtedly be consistent, whether they are male or female, no matter their nationality or age, creed, era they lived in or even the people they were leading. From 5th century emperors to today's 5th grade teachers, you will find the same character qualities in great leaders.

The first myth addresses whether or not these people were naturally born to lead. Is there a such thing as a natural born leader? Think about it for a second. There are people who are born with certain character qualities such as patience, clear communication skills, people-friendliness and an innate ability to think outside the box and share that vision with the team. But will that person born with those qualities naturally develop into a leader? And if you're not born with those character qualities, does that mean you are incapable of becoming a leader?

Unless this first myth is absolutely purged from your perception of what it takes to become a leader, you will create your own mental roadblock in your journey to becoming a Real World Leader. Leaders are born, yes, but people are not natural born leaders.

Leadership is a learned skill through modeling, through coaching, through trial and error. Leadership is a process, not a characteristic. Sure, many leaders do possess those traits, but those character qualities alone do not make people a Real World Leader.

Leadership is something that people with these character qualities develop into. People become leaders; they are not natural born leaders. And not all leaders possess all these character qualities. Some leaders are not great communicators, but don't people still follow them? Others lack any number of the character qualities mentioned earlier, but they still are great leaders because they understand that to become great leaders, they have to maximize the qualities that they already possess.

Know this: anyone, and I mean anyone, can become a Real World Leader. Once you have accepted the fact that you do not have to be born a leader, you can begin your journey to becoming a leader. The qualities you have are enough to develop you into a Real World Leader. All you need is a desire to be a leader and the willingness to learn and implement what you've learned.  

A Primer for the Second Myth

The second myth came to me after realizing that not everyone has all of the qualities associated with great leaders, but they all have the ability to become a Real World Leader. I've read many books that covered the character qualities of a great leaders, but if anyone reading any of these books did not believe he or she possessed these qualities, they may fall victim to the myths that I am shattering for you.

I do not discourage anyone from reading these books and learning about the qualities many great leaders have. In fact I encourage you to read as much as you can in your journey. But as you'll see, Real World Leadership is not based off these theoretical concepts. You will become a Real World Leader whether you were born courageous or not. The only prerequisite is that you were born.


"It's Not What You Say, It's What You Do"

If you were introduced to someone at a cocktail party and this person was charismatic, eloquent and confident, would you feel compelled to follow this person as your leader? Would you see this person as a leader that you have to be part of his or her team? What if you met this person while standing in line at the post office? Do you get a business card and apply for a job under this person? Does being charming and confident clue you into that person's ability to lead?

Think about some people who you have followed in the past. Were they perfect? Did they always say the right things? Did they show no fear in every situation? Sometimes people who are stoic under pressure are the ones who are suppressing their insecurities of their ability to complete a job. They are more concerned about how they look as opposed to accomplishing the goal of the team. Am I right?

Let's go back to the people you met at the cocktail party and the post office. Could they have been white-collar criminals? Could they be insecure on the inside? Unemployed, maybe? Isn't it possible to be a graveyard shift security guard and possess the character qualities of charisma, eloquence and confidence?

Now let's go talk about the people who you know were great leaders. When they made a decision did you trust them in that decision? Why do you think you did? If a project required the team to stay late, was there any doubt if this person would stay? How did this make the team view this person? When there was a problem, did the team not only expect, but know this person would handle it?

To shatter the second myth you have to realize that people don't follow people based on the qualities they have as a person. It's a myth. That myth is replaced with the fact that people follow people based on what they do as a leader. Again, think about those people you followed in the past, or maybe even today in the present. Is it because of their qualities as a person or is it because of the things that they do? Is it because they are great communicators or is it because they use that quality to motivate the team to perform at its best? Is it because you follow people based on the character qualities they were born with or did you follow them based on what they did.

People follow based on what a does and not what a person has.

I'm Right Here If You Need Me

As we continue through this journey, you may have some questions. Perhaps you would like for me to expand on anything you just learned or maybe you would just like to share your feelings about the content. Do not hesitate to send an email to: ken@kencanion.com The Canion Method of Leadership is built to be flexible so if you have any particular questions or comments about your particular situation, send an email so we can customize The Canion Method of Leadership to help you and your journey.