1. Leadership is an art and not a science.
The true answer is that it is both. Leaders tend to understand the artful grace of commanding a team but the metrics used to implement ideas and principles are grounded in science: observable & repeatable.
2. Leadership is inclusively a human endeavor.
It exists in order domains — pack of wolves & pride of lions. Elephants also have a very sophisticated matriarchal understanding of leadership. The Australian steel-blue sawfly has leaders that decide on group movements.
3. Leadership is based on a formal position and authority.
The best leaders rely on informal power and authority.
Leaders use: expert & referent power.
Managers use: coercive, reward, & informational power.
Read More: The Bases of Social Power
4. Leadership does not matter for performance.
5. Great leaders are born not made.
It is both — nature versus nurture.
Nurture- Most leaders are made through their experiences, education, training, and individual efforts to persevere: people can develop into leaders if they continue to challenge themselves.
Nature- There is a gene associated with leadership — responsible for 25-35% of potential.
6. Men are better leaders than women.
Fewer women are leaders due to cultural norms & paradigms but the potential is absolutely equal. “Glass Cliff phenomenon” implies that women are put into positions when there is a greater likelihood of failure, thus shaping societal perceptions.
7. Leadership training is useless.
A meta-analysis (study of studies) shows that leadership training matters for results — provides a distinct opportunity to practice while receiving feedback.
8. The only real preparation for leadership is leadership experience.
“Experience without theory teaches us nothing” – W. Edwards Deming
9. Leadership is culturally specific.
GLOBE study across 62 countries & 10 societal clusters– shows there are universally endorsed leadership attributes and practices.
10. Leadership is rare and exclusive.
Leadership skills & abilities are widely distributed. Overly investing in high-potential leaders does not guarantee success.