Popular leadership myth #3 – effective leadership is in scarce supply

A natural consequence of believing leadership myths 1 and 2 – that it requires special qualities, skills, expertise and knowledge to be a leader today – is that there appears to be a shortage of the right kind of people. Andif you believe that leadership is scarce, you will naturally constantly struggle to find a sufficient supply of capable leaders.

However real this might seem to you, just consider that the exact opposite might be true. In fact, companies all over the world have discovered that they can empower leadership at every level of the organisation. In this model, there is no shortage of leadership, and the question becomes simply, “what will unleash the untapped energy, commitment, and creativity of the people in the organisation?”

Many organisations simply do not tap into the potential that their people can provide, and one reason for this is a self-limiting belief in leadership myth number 3! If you shift your perspective from one of scarcity to one of abundance, you’ll see potential leaders everywhere about you. Your job is then to nurture and coach them to build their confidence, ownership and skill, so they can grow and step up to the challenge.

A potent access to building a leadership culture is having leaders take responsibility for developing leadership in others throughout the organisation, through coaching and mentoring. It’s also important that current leaders reflect on and openly share what they are learning from their own most recent successes and failures.

Leaders can and will emerge in an environment that fosters leadership: as the film puts it, “build it and they will come”. A former President & CEO of a major international company said, “A defining moment came when I challenged my senior leadership with a difficult operations target. Unexpectedly, they not only accepted the challenge but volunteered to deliver something even bigger.”

Create a culture that encourages people to make bold commitments and big promises. Then, give them the space, support and tools to get the job done – and stand back!