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How Leadership Myths are Created in Schools

Updated: Apr 2

If I were to ask you to define a leader - what comes to mind? I know for most of my life, it was someone superior to me - the captain of a team, a student council president, then a manager, an owner, or an administrator. What I failed to realize was that even without a title, I could lead - and in fact, I was leading each and every day.

The best leaders, as I have only realized in the last year or two, are the people who don’t need a title to lift other people around them up to a higher position, especially when they lift them higher than themselves. Think of parents - their ultimate goal is to give their children a better life than they had, and what better way to define leadership than as a parent?

There are several myths we operate under when it comes to leadership, the challenge of operating under these myths is that we don’t see ourselves as leaders, and then we don’t instill the ability to lead in our children.

Myth #1 Leaders are born

In school, students who are involved in all the clubs and sports, and are often also at the top of their classes academically are seen as walking into those roles. It doesn’t often seem like they had to work to get there. Unfortunately, that is wrong and perpetuates the idea to those students at the top that they are the only ones who can do the work, and to the other students that they can never achieve those leadership roles because they weren’t already in that position.

Myth #2 Leaders are perfect

Once we arrive at school, we are taught that success and achievement are what should be celebrated. We award academic excellence, the most valuable players, and other top achievements, but failure or mistakes are rarely celebrated. So when leaders make a mistake they often feel like they need to hide it or pretend it was someone else’s fault. Not a lot of good comes from this myth either.

Myth #3 Leaders have a title

As I mentioned before, we see achievements tied to titles, but do not celebrate all titles the same way. Going through life thinking a leader is someone with a title prevents us from seeing ourselves as the incredible leaders we already are. Don’t let this myth or the others allow you to sell yourself short.

We are all leaders, because the one universal definition of leadership is someone who makes decisions, and who doesn’t make decisions every day of their lives? So while you don’t need a title, you do need to see yourself as a leader. For more information on ways to develop and grow as a leader, check out Peers not Fears at

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