Leaders Are Born: Myth Vs. Reality – Professionals, aspirants, and students learning to cultivate leadership qualities encounter many myths that discourage and disillusion them. Myths promote misinformation and misguidance for professionals on the path to career growth and development. These myths distort realities by presenting leadership qualities as supernatural elements that ordinary humans cannot comprehend, let alone achieve.

In reality, leadership qualities stem from dedication, determination, and devotion to perfecting one’s skillset and cultivating confidence. However, people promote all kinds of myths that associate leadership abilities with certain personality traits and even some zodiac signs. These myths are profoundly discouraging from introverts who struggle to find their voice and reclaim their confidence.

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to debunk prevailing leadership myths and shed light on realities to encourage the pursuit of personal development. Anyone can emerge as a dynamic and charismatic leader after working on skill-building, communication and problem-solving skills, and cultivating confidence.

Keep reading to join us in this myth-debunking mission and unravel the reality behind developing leadership strengths.

Myth#1: Leaders acquire their talents through genetics.

Leaders aren’t born on the cusp of greatness, harnessing their talents from within the womb. Stating that leadership qualities are natural and passed on through genetics understates the effort and commitment required for skill-building.

It’s true that many of our talents, such as musical inclination and artistic skills, are passed on through genetics. But we cannot harness the true potential of these talents if we don’t invest in honing and perfecting them. Higher education and academic exposure hold the key to leadership development and embracing qualities that prepare us for career advancement.

Pursuing an online degree will help you cultivate the skills needed to expand your authority in educational settings. Combining a master’s program with your job as a teacher or vice-principal may prove challenging, but online learning offers flexibility.

Millions of professionals worldwide develop leadership acumen by advancing their education and adding specialized skills to their resumes. Like the education sector, all industries reward professionals who prioritize continual learning with leadership opportunities. It all boils down to setting realistic goals and creating a roadmap to invest in your skill development goals.

Research into leadership heritability reveals that genetics account for less than 25% of our qualities, skills, and talents. And over 70% of our skills and leadership qualities are learned and acquired through persistent hard work. If you want to excel within your current job or explore lucrative opportunities, higher education offers a straight road to leadership roles.

Myth#2: Charismatic leaders are bold and vibrant extroverts.

There’s no truth in saying that successful leaders are all extroverts, and introverts must change their personalities to enjoy success. The most damaging leadership myths associate leaders with certain personality types and qualities, discouraging people from personal development. Such myths discourage introverts because it’s hard to shift personality traits that define and comfort us.

Being an extrovert indeed helps people develop effective communication skills and express themselves confidently. Extroverts are loud and bold risk-takers, but communicating with confidence isn’t the only leadership quality. For argument’s sake, introverts have a fair shot at becoming leaders since they are observant and patient listeners.

Communication isn’t effective if you speak incessantly without allowing others the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions. Leaders are patient listeners, crafty problem-solvers, and observant analytical thinkers. Don’t restrict leadership to a label that doesn’t do justice to the many skills leaders master and cultivate.

Myth#3: There can only be one leader in the workplace.

The most powerful leadership quality is inspiring, encouraging, and empowering others to develop leadership abilities. Leaders breed more leaders instead of creating followers because their vision spreads positivity and empowerment. To think that only one leader can exist within a workplace environment nullifies the essence of leadership.

Managers, entrepreneurs, and powerful people who discourage and disempower others are not leaders but merely individuals with authority. And yielding authority doesn’t always guarantee the popularity, influence, and respect that leaders enjoy within their communities. It’s crucial to become a mentor and focus on relationship-building to garner recognition and respect as a leader.

Leaders empower and create more leaders to share their vision and support their goals. They recognize the significance of sharing their resources and breeding more leaders to steer their community towards positive change. Charismatic and successful leaders actively delegate and share their responsibility to create an inclusive culture of empowerment.

Myth#4: Leaders must master every skill in the world.

You know what they say, Jack of all trades, master of none. No, leaders do not need to master every skill or talent in the world to gain recognition and applause. Instead, leaders specialize in talents and skills relevant to their field and goals.

Leaders understand the significance of managing their time and resources with discipline. They set realistic and pragmatic goals to achieve the success they aspire for instead of extending themselves in all directions. Setting overly ambitious goals is a recipe for failure because we need to set measurable milestones to achieve success.

You don’t need to know everything to emerge as a promising and effective leader. Instead, focus on harnessing and perfecting your core competencies and becoming the best version of yourself. Some people focus on improving their hereditary talents while others acquire skills they don’t possess. Each aspiring leader must find a calling and map out goals to achieve the success they dream of achieving.

Final Thoughts

We are all leaders under construction, working on building the skills we need to land our dream jobs. Some prepare themselves for entrepreneurial leadership, while others aspire to serve communities and bring social change. It all boils down to setting leadership goals and committing yourself to the process of learning and skill-building.

Aspiring leaders must recognize their true potential and invest in the skills that lead them to their goals. If all leaders were affluent, gifted, and naturally destined for leadership, determined people from humble backgrounds wouldn’t rise to greatness. Our genetics and immediate environments create advantages and disadvantages, but leadership vision lies in rising above these limitations.