Martin Luther King, Jr has often been quoted that the measure of a man cannot be seen in times of comfort but where he stands in times of adversity. In difficult moments, the true values, convictions and beliefs of the leader surface. Sometimes the leader himself does not realize what the foundation of his or her life had been until adversity reveals it. Leaders must face the difficult realities of the influence he or she has the privilege of obtaining. One in pursuit of great leadership cannot deny these realities. Coming to grips with these realities, certain myths must be exposed.
Myth #1: Leadership is found in position. Many are in pursuit of certain positions in life believing lies that the position is what holds the success or influence. Many find as they "climb the ladder" certain compromises are made that go against his or her core values slowly decaying the foundation that makes great leaders great. Rather than being in pursuit of the position, pursue the character needed for the position and the promotions will occur at the appropriate times. Leadership is influence, period. Great leaders have influence with or without position.
Myth #2: Leadership is innate. In other words, many believe great leaders are born with the natural ability to lead. There may be some truth to this as innate personalities and temperaments certainly gift individuals with abilities and skills to lead. However, EVERYONE has the ability to develop the leader within them. The key is learning what defines leadership and the foundation of leadership is character. Everyone has the ability to develop character and as this character manifests itself through one's personality, skills and abilities the "uniqueness" of that person's leadership is revealed.
Myth #3: Leadership is easy. This is probably the most obvious myth of leadership and most widely accepted for those who have attempted leadership. Developing great leadership abilities and skills takes time and a lot of effort. More than just a lot of effort, this effort must be a focused effort. The type of effort needed must be rooted in purposeful leadership - a purpose higher than just self-fulfillment. When leaders have a purpose aimed at benefiting others, he or she finds additional strength to work through adversity and hindrances.
Count the cost. Knowing the challenges and costs ahead of time prepares one's expectations of the realities of leadership and helps avoid the pitfalls of falling prey to the myths of leadership.