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10 Leadership Misconceptions That Dominate the Global Narrative

Leaders need to be extroverts. Leaders need to be dominating. Leaders need to be exclusive. Leaders need to command respect. Anyone that follows the global narrative trends will say this about leadership. Leadership misconceptions are many. People see through the pages of history and form a rigid opinion about leadership. This is problematic. 

When people tend to believe in leadership misconceptions, they tend to shame anyone that does not fit that narrative. They also refuse to accept any individual that does not match the characteristics of past leaders. This makes society not appreciate the genuinely amazing individuals who are worthy of leadership in the status quo. But more on that later. 

Here, we discuss what leadership is and what popular misconceptions dominate the global narrative today. 

What Is the Meaning of Leadership?

Leadership is about doing good in the world; doing what others are too afraid to do. Leaders take up risky challenges. They put their lives on hold and try to achieve something for everyone else. Moreover, leaders motivate others to break shackles and try to change the status quo for the better. Leadership misconceptions can place hurdles on their progress. Read ahead to find out more about it. 

What Are Popular Leadership Misconceptions in Society?

Leadership misconceptions that dominate the narrative in one society often get translated to other places. Through social media and word of mouth, public perceptions build up. Here are some common leadership misconceptions out there.

  • Leadership Is a Birthright 
  • Leaders Know It All
  • Leaders Don’t Work for Success
  • Great Leaders Cast a Light on Others
  • Leaders Trust Their Gut More Than Data
  • Leadership Equals Followership
  • Leaders Are Heroes Who Save Companies
  • Leaders Detest Descent
  • Being Called a Leader Makes You a Leader 
  • Extroverts Make Better Leaders Than Introverts

1. Leadership Is a Birthright

Leaders’ kids deserve to be leaders too. Is it not the perception that the world had for all of our histories? Is it not still prevalent in some parts of our world? Truth is that there are still a lot of people who believe that leadership is a birthright and that there are certain people who deserve to be leaders more than others do. 

Nothing can be farther from the truth. Leadership comes from the conscious effort of someone trying to excel at the role. It has nothing to do with the kind of family you were born into. 

2. Leaders Know It All

Another common myth is that leaders know it all-all the time. It is true that this myth often benefits leaders and helps them onto power. However, it can also prove counterintuitive, since it puts a lot of leaders under extreme pressure. 

When they are expected to know it all; have all the solutions for every problem, then they are also shamed when they are unable to do the right thing or find the right solution. 

3. Leaders Don’t Work for Success

Talk to any female or feminist leader in the world and ask them how most people perceive them. A common answer would be that people believe leaders, especially female leaders, reach the top position only through luck. 

They believe that leaders do not work as hard as common people. This is why most leaders like Elon Musk are often under criticism. Leaders are targeted for getting their luck simply because of their luck and not because of their perseverance. 

4. Great Leaders Cast a Light on Others

Another popular leadership misconception is that great leaders tend to cast a light on others and take all the limelight. Everyone indeed enjoys popularity and leaders, like everyone else, want to be acknowledged for their efforts. 

However, there are also exclusive and fearful leaders who will go miles to secure their position. They feel insecure about others and will not want anyone else to be noticed for their efforts. This often makes them act out and take away someone’s limelight. 

5. Leaders Trust Their Gut More Than Data

Leaders Trust Their Gut More Than Data

There is no guilt in trusting your gut. On the contrary, leaders have been known to trust their gut feeling and act accordingly. However, that was true for leaders of the past like Napoleon Bonaparte and Fidel Castro. These days, with so much bombardment of information, leaders know that it is much better to trust the data. 

Leaders allocate a lot of resources to data analysis. They hire teams consisting of professionals, so they can assess market trends and make predictions for the future. Using this data helps these leaders make much more calculated decisions. 

6. Leadership Equals Followership

There was a time when leaders wanted unwavering support and loyalty from their followers. They wanted all of their commands to be followed without any ifs or buts. Maybe some leaders still want that. 

However, most smart leaders understand that undying loyalty creates a dumb workforce that hinders progress. Leaders know that the only way to grow their business is through a healthy discourse generation. Additionally, due to a rise in progressivism, even followers do not follow their leaders blindly. They demand some accountability. 

7. Leaders Are Heroes Who Save Companies

It is unfortunate that so many people still believe that individuals can single-handedly save a dying company. Indeed, some leaders like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela could single-handedly change the course of history, but for most leaders, it requires more than just a good leader to make that change. 

Leaders will need things like active engagement from the upper management and the team, as well as proper resources at their disposal. Only with the right circumstances can a leader create a massive difference. 

8. Leaders Detest Descent

Only exclusive leaders or leaders that adopt a fear-based leadership style detest descent. They feel powerful when everyone agrees with them all the time. It gives them a false sense of validation. 

However, for most leaders, descent and disagreements are pivotal. Leaders like Namita Thapar of India suggested that any leader that wants to grow should hire people smarter than themselves. This creates the necessary engagement and descent that is needed to grow a company exponentially. 

9. Being Called a Leader Makes You a Leader 

A leader is not a leader because they are simply at the top of their field. There is a huge difference between bosses and leaders. Bosses command respect and generally assign tasks.

However, leaders lead through inspiration and boost the morale of everyone around them. This is why people who do not have any official positions can still be called leaders. A prime example of this is Rosa Parks. Even when she held no real official position in society, people still looked up to her and treated her like a leader. 

10. Extroverts Make Better Leaders Than Introverts

This has to be one of the biggest misconceptions regarding leadership. A lot of people believe that extroverts are people persons and have exceptionally good verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and thus make much better leaders. 

However, introverts can do an equally good job. Because for a leader to succeed, effective listening skills are as important as speaking skills. Luckily for the world, introverted leaders have this ability. 

Also read: 7 Incredible tips to help you listen like a leader?

How Do Misconceptions About Leadership Hamper Growth in Society?

Leaders make or break society. Notice the difference between positive leaders such as Jacinda Arden of New Zealand. Even after all the crises she had to face in her short tenure, she remained steadfast. Compare this with leaders like Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union or Donald Trump of America. These leaders made people lose hope and took their societies backward. Leadership misconceptions can have a similar effect on societies. 

For starters, it can make people fixate on certain leaders more than others. A clear example of this can be populous leaders. Notice how societies generally support leaders who present a populous narrative, no matter how harmful it is. This is because these leaders fulfill the criteria of what a ‘leader should be’. This often makes societies reject good leaders who do not necessarily fulfill a ‘pre-conceived idea’ of what leadership looks like. 

Secondly, it also prevents people from being unique and creative in their leadership skills. If society focuses on certain leadership traits, that means that most potential leaders will make a conscious effort to fit into that boxes. This reduces the uniqueness of leaders. 

Another issue is that leadership misconceptions are so ingrained in the fabric of society that anyone that tries to break them or oppose them ends up being shamed or ridiculed. If society needs to progress and tackle on global challenges of climate change, poverty, and terrorism, it needs leaders who can think outside the box. 

How Can Leadership Misconceptions Be Eliminated?

We have already established that leadership misconceptions can hamper the growth of society. But how do we fix what is already been broken? Well, here are some easy ways to do that. 

1. Use social media and online platforms to raise awareness. 

2. Become a leader that breaks the norms and inculcates positivity. 

3. Educate the people around you. 

4. Set the right example for others. 

5. Collaborate with other potential leaders and form communities. 

6. Empower leaders who can think out of the box. 

7. Don’t hinder feminist leadership in your society. 

Become a Leader That Everyone Respects With Best Diplomats

Become a Leader That Everyone Respects With Best Diplomats

Leaders, even the most powerful ones, get affected by what the world thinks of them. These leadership misconceptions take over their hearts and their minds, and they end up seeing themselves in a poorer light. This is counterintuitive to the essence of leadership. 

If you want to transform society or change the course of history, you have to become a formidable force in society. Luckily for you, Best Diplomats can help you reach your goal. Through its United Nations Simulation programs, it can teach you the subtle, but powerful art of public speaking and help improve your overall communication skills. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, sign up to know more. 


Society creates and gives rise to popular narratives. It is hence not unfair to demand that society fix the problem too. When leaders break shackles and stereotypes and rise to the occasion, they create history. They tell people that leadership misconceptions need to be eliminated. You can also contribute to the growth of society by becoming an exceptional leader. Join Best Diplomats today and start your journey to success. 


What Common Problems Are Caused by Poor Leadership Skills?

Poor leadership, if done on a societal level, can wreak havoc in a perfectly normal society. Look at what poor leadership has done to countries like Sri Lanka and North Korea. Some common problems caused by poor leadership include
1) The constant conflict between diverse communities
2) Lack of responsibility taken by any party
3) Low employee/citizen morale
4) Resistance to a positive change
5) Communication issues between the leader and follower.

What Qualities Do You Think Leaders Today Lack Most?

You may think that leadership has improved over the last few years, but some recurrent problems have not been fixed. Some qualities that leaders still lack include
1) Good non-verbal and listening skills
2) Lack of morale-boosting attitude
3) Poor time management skills
4) Difficulty in adequately delegating tasks
5) Lack of strategic thinking

How Can the Lack of Leadership Be Resolved?

Leaders need to make a conscious effort to identify the areas where they lack. Only then can the crisis of leadership be averted. Here are some things you can do. 
1. Look after your physical health, so you are always ready to take on a challenge head-on. 
2. Be clear on your vision, your ethics, and your morals. 
3. Be authentic and try to gain the trust of your followers. 
4. Show consistency so that your followers can rely on your word. 
5. Never be opposed to constructive criticism

How Can We Make Leadership More Effective?

Transformation and inclusive leaders are revered by society. This is because they can look beyond themselves and produce good outcomes for society. Leadership can be made more effective by effective leadership training exercises. These will help potential leaders learn from each other and learn through trial and error. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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