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bookWhat are your underlying beliefs around leadership?

It's key to uncover these if we want to drive our own progress and step up our game as a leader. Why ? Because beliefs, which have been indocrinated by all those who accompanied us since we were born (parents, teachers, mentors, friends, ...), define our values which in turn shape our behaviour. In other words, our behaviour is the external manifestation of our beliefs. Perhaps you might recognize some beliefs you have about leadership which I have challenged as myths in the articles below.

Leadership Myth #1: “Leaders are born, not made”

This is the age-old question on Leadership: is it nature or nurture?

There seem to be a whole lot of conflicting messages out there on the endless debate of whether or not a great leader is one who has inherited the leadership gene. When scientists finally discovered that the Earth was indeed not flat but orange-shaped, the mystery was solved and that was that. Yet, whilst we await the final verdict on the "truth" about leaders and the wiring of their brains, I wonder just how keen we really ought to be on being labeled one way or the other, and would it really be doing us a favour to be labeled "leader" or "follower"?

Leadership Myth #2: Performance-based compensation works

I am inside the Apple store in Nice, France, and observing the running of the show. Lots of blue t-shirts are sprinkled evenly over the shop: I count 18 employees in total. Tattoos are bared; shaven heads, goaties and studded belts are sported - Pretty much anything but the "conservative" look. The Blue T-shirt unifies their identity as staff, and they are all busily engaged with customers. Whilst the store is packed with people wanting to browse around, check out the latest laptop or have an Apple product repaired, harmony reigns. In fact, the noise level is very pleasant despite about 30 conversations going on at the same time in the same place.

Leadership Myth #4: Acknowledging and praising co-workers is not a priority

There is a very popular expression in the French language: "Il n'y a rien à dire" which, when literally translated into English ("there is nothing to say") loses its meaning altogether. "Il n'y a rien à dire" is used in everyday language to recognize that something is, indeed, perfect. However, there doesn't seem to be an English equivalent, where you compliment someone with a negative. Having asked a handful of French friends, it indeed insinuates that the person saying it has searched (quite possibly unconsciously) for errors in vain and so resorts to the fact that because there aren't any, "il n'y a rien à dire" – "there is nothing to say".

Leadership Myth #5: To be a great leader, you need to be a Superhero

"If you could be the superhero of your choice for a day at work, which one would you be?"

This was the starting question to a team exercise we were invited to do at a workshop I recently attended. Each team was given 20 minutes to prepare a presentation of the team's purpose, its members and their roles, and how they were going to reach their common goal.

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