Myths About Leadership That May Be Holding You Back

5 min read

Career Trends: March 28, 2023
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Anyone can demonstrate leadership qualities when they take initiative, inspire others and create positive change.

  • Excerpts are taken from an article published on

Leadership is an intricate concept that has been the centre of extensive research, discussion, and debate. Despite the wealth of information available on the topic, several myths and misconceptions persist about being an effective leader. Let’s explore some of these myths and explain why they are not necessarily true.

Here are six common myths about leadership that may hinder your progress:

Myth #1: Leaders are born, not made

The idea that “leaders are born, not made” is a common myth about leadership. While some natural talents and traits may predispose specific individuals to leadership roles, many essential skills can be developed and honed through experience, training and education. Leadership cannot simply be inherited or innate, but it is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. Overcoming personal obstacles is also an important step towards becoming an influential leader.

There are many types of leaders, and different leadership styles can be effective in different situations.

For example, some leaders may be naturally charismatic and able to inspire others through their personalities, while others may be more analytical and strategic in their approach. While some individuals may naturally be inclined towards leadership, anyone can become an effective leader with the proper training, experience and dedication.

Myth #2: Leaders always hold authority positions

While it is true that leaders often hold positions of authority and are responsible for making important decisions, leadership is not limited to those in formal leadership positions.

Regardless of their official role or title, anyone can demonstrate leadership qualities when they take the initiative, inspire others and create positive change

For example, a team member who takes the initiative to solve a problem or improve a process demonstrates leadership skills, even if they do not have a title or position of authority.

Effective leadership requires collaboration and teamwork, and leaders who recognise the strengths and contributions of others are more likely to succeed.

In many cases, a leader who delegates responsibility and empowers others to take ownership of tasks and projects can achieve more significant results than one who tries to control everything.

Myth #3: Leaders always know what to do

Effective leaders recognise that failure is a natural part of the learning process and are not afraid to make mistakes or take calculated risks.

They use failures as opportunities to learn and grow and encourage their team members to do the same.

Effective leaders often seek input and advice from others and are open to feedback and criticism. They recognise that they have some expertise or experience in every area and rely on their team members and colleagues to contribute their knowledge and insights.

Influential leaders are adaptable and flexible and can adjust their plans and strategies as circumstances change. They do not cling to their ideas or plans in the face of new information or changing circumstances but are willing to adjust and pivot as needed.

Myth #4: Leaders are always confident and self-assured

The main distinction between a leader and someone who exudes confidence is that a leader is capable of acknowledging their shortcomings and constraints while still being focused and determined. They don’t hesitate to say when they don’t know something or seek for assistance.

Leaders can gain their team’s trust and respect by being transparent and honest about their challenges. They may forge closer bonds with those they lead and foster a more supportive and collaborative work environment by demonstrating that they are just like everyone else— a human and prone to vulnerability.

A leader has to have confidence; it is a fallacy that leaders are always certain and self-confident. True leaders may own their flaws while still remaining steadfast in the pursuit of their objectives.

Myth #5: Leaders must be charismatic

Charisma refers to a person’s ability to charm and persuade others with their personality and presence. While this can be a valuable asset for a leader, other qualities are necessary for effective leadership. Some of the most successful leaders in history have been introverted or understated in their demeanour, yet they were still able to inspire and motivate others.

Effective leadership is about more than just personality traits. It requires strategic thinking, decision-making, communication and building and motivating a team. These skills can be developed and honed over time, regardless of whether or not a leader is naturally charismatic.

Refraining from relying too heavily on charisma can be a liability for a leader. Charismatic leaders may be skilled at getting people excited and energised but may also be prone to making impulsive decisions or over-promising what they can deliver.

Myth #6: Leaders must be tough and unemotional

Another common misconception about leadership is that effective leaders must be tough and unemotional, able to make difficult decisions without getting emotionally involved. However, the reality is that effective leaders can balance their emotional intelligence with their analytical skills, recognising the importance of empathy and rationality in decision-making.

While there are many myths and misconceptions about being an effective leader, leadership cannot be reduced to a simple formula or set of traits. Effective leaders are willing to invest in their growth and development, inspire and motivate others toward a common goal, and balance their emotional intelligence and analytical skills. By dispelling these leadership myths, we can create a more realistic and nuanced understanding of what it means to be an effective leader and cultivate the skills and qualities essential for success in any leadership role.

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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