Breaking the Top 4 Leadership Myths

Leadership Myth

In my experiences with how people perceive leadership, I have run across some widely believed myths.

And many of these myths cause misconceptions that need to be broken.

Understanding Roadblocks to Success

When people grow up thinking that leaders are “always this” or “never that,” they can create unnecessary problems for themselves and for others around them. Misconceptions can build until they reach a mythical point in their mind.

And as time goes on, these “false truths” can hold people back from becoming something great.

They can stifle things like:

  • Personal and Professional Growth
  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • Bottom-line Results

So in order to help people get out of these mindsets, I have debunked some of these myths to help people learn, grow, and develop other leaders.

Breaking the Top 4 Leadership Myths

Myth 1: It’s Lonely At The Top

Truth: If it’s lonely at the top, you’re not doing it right.

What are the attributes of a true leader?

  • Personable – love to be close to people
  • Generate high morale on their team
  • Empower others to come along with them
  • Place great value on others
  • Inspiring
  • Engage those around them
  • Lead by example

Myth 2: Stubborn “Know it All” People Are The Toughest To Lead

Truth: The toughest person to lead is always yourself.
Truth: You must first lead yourself well in order to lead others well.

If you reflect on your leadership of others, you may have been viewed as:

  • Prideful
  • Unrealistic
  • Rigid
  • Autocratic
  • Timid

What created this behavior?
What did you learn from it?

We should be good followers first.

  • No one is an island
  • Everyone follows someone
  • Following the right people keeps us on an even keel
  • Everyone could potentially have a voice in your life
  • Not everyone’s voice is valid for your life. Analyze and dissect
  • Your voice is the most important voice you hear

Myth 3: Leaders Are Born, Not Made

Truth: Leadership is a learned skill set, not a talent given.

Out of over twenty years of listening to leaders speak, none of them stated that they were given the gift of leadership at birth.

All true leaders are humble, knowing that anyone can learn what they learned and do what they do.
Some people are born with the desire to lead, but the still have to learn the skill set. Conversely, many great leaders have stated that they were not born with the desire to lead, but became a leader by learning the skill set.

What is the secret then?

  • Training
  • Application

Myth 4: You Have To Have A Position of Leadership In Order To Lead

Truth: Leadership is influence. Anyone that you influence, you are leading.

Right now… where you are… at this very moment… you lead someone.

  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Parents (yes, it’s true!)
  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • Church family

Those who lead well where they are grow into those leadership positions with the official title.

  • Leadership is a daily process
  • You never outgrow leadership
  • Leadership has goals, but no final destination
  • Leadership has no days off
  • You must lead well in the small things before you will ever lead well in the bigger things

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. ~ Napoleon Hill

So, how many of these 4 myths have you bought into in the past? How has this impacted your effectiveness with those you work with or lead? And how many of these myths have you broken through to better increase your personal leadership effectiveness? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Jack Davis
Jack Davis is a John Maxwell Certified Success Coach and Speaker
He serves as Coach, YouthMax Speaker & Board Member Team Xtreme Ministries
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

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9 responses to “Breaking the Top 4 Leadership Myths

  1. I really enjoyed reading your article Jack! So clear and easy to follow and read! Great nuggets of Leadership wisdom too! I would certainly like to follow your blog if you have one!


    • Joyce,

      Thank you very much. I have several blogs. Most are short, to the point quotes. There is one site where I publish only my quotes and material (Ok, there is an occasional reblog of something good too).

      You can find it at:
      I have named it Jacked Up On Quotes.
      The pun is intentional. 🙂



  2. I loved reading your article. It helped me see how I lead others and how I dont want to lead others. Thanx for the information. I look forward to reading more from you.


  3. The myth I believe in the most is #4 about needing a position in order to lead. For me, I am learning that everyone is watching, and even if you do not have a position others will watch you and start to follow. In theory, you can lead from anywhere if you show you care for others, work hard, and take initiative.

    Thanks for sharing this post. 🙂


    • You are most welcome Christopher. That was the big one for me to overcome too. When I speak I have good stories that go along with each of the points. For that one, I have 2 stories about how even little children have led me. I also have 3 good stories about how my daughter has led me. None of these children nor my daughter hold a leadership position of any kind. Yet, they were able to lead me with wise words and wise actions. Great stories. People love them.

      Have an amazing day! 🙂


  4. Mr. Davis,

    Great post.

    Regarding your question, my greatest struggle was with number 1 through 4. Luckily, I’ve grown in a way that each of these was debunked.

    The most recent breakthrough was on number 4. In addition to pursuing and growing my 2nd dream job of being a speaker and author. I’m living my 1st dream job as my day job. I’m the director of a Christian summer camp and retreat center.

    I used to believe that my leadership with the summer staff was
    1. Boxed into the three months they worked for me.
    2. Confined to the areas of their work at my camp.

    WOW…what a misguided line of thinking.

    For 99% of our summer staff working with us is their first job. What a unique opportunity to help set them up for success in future career jobs.

    Also, when summer ends…our relationship doesn’t. Working and living together for 24 hours a day for 3 months gives me the ability to develop deep trust from them. I can really leverage this after summer ends to continue to be an influence.

    Finally…the most important leadership lesson I’ve ever learned. More is caught than is taught. My leadership (therefore my influence) was confined to “on the job” hours. How the staff observe me treat my wife, my children and manage the tension between work and family is more powerful then anything I can say “on the job”.

    And now I’ll end the longest post reply in the history of post replies….Thanks for your post.


    • That’s great Eric! I love your response. Keep growing. Keep that image of your vision of who you want to be. It is your visual (and virtual) goal.


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