Four Myths of Leadership

These have been researched by Jim Collins who has authored successful management books like 'Good to Great', 'Built to Last' and "How the Mighty Fall'; they are

Myth 1 - Great leaders are charismatic

The popular image of successful leaders who are larger-than-life figures does not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, they are very humble, ie

"...Rather than looking after themselves, humble leaders tend to care about their people and the company they are building..."

Jim Collins as quoted by Sally Patten, 2021

The charismatic can be both an asset and liability

Myth 2 - Leaders must have a great vision

More important than having a grand vision and strategy is relationships, ie

"... It is not about what you are going to do, it's about who you are going to do it with..."

Jim Collins as quoted by Sally Patten, 2021

Successful leaders want to do something with other people, ie

"...It isn't vision. It isn't a strategy. It's who. Begin with figuring out who, and then you figure out everything else. This is largely because success can be hard, so leaders need smart people around them who they trust in order to overcome the inevitable obstacles..."

Jim Collins as as quoted by Sally Patten, 2021

NB Successful leaders and their staff share key values.

Furthermore, you can be a lot more flexible if you are attached to people rather than ideas, ie the ideas can change if needed

Myth - 3 Change agents must be hired externally

The best change agents usually come from inside the organisation, not outside.

"...Much of this is because of the need to find the right people to work with. Leaders who are promoted from within have a much better idea of whom they can trust and want to work with, and so will be in a stronger position to take the company in a new direction..."

Jim Collins as quoted by Sally Patten, 2021

Working with great people means that you need to invest in them

" should probably be spending more than half your time on people questions, getting the right people around you, developing and investing in your people and taking care of your people..."

Jim Collins as quoted by Sally Patten, 2021

Myth 4 - Radical change requires radical action

Most successfully transformed companies claim that no one single major event drove their transformation. It was more evolutionary rather than revolution.


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