How do you know you haven’t fallen for a leadership myth that simply isn’t true?
Answer: Sometimes you don’t.
Too many leaders hold a few damaging core beliefs that simply aren’t true.
Myths are everywhere in our culture. It’s not that hard to roll our eyes at people who fall for urban legends.
But there are also leadership myths: things that many leaders believe that really aren’t true.
I think we’ve all fallen for a few.
But how many stubborn leadership myths are you still falling for?
Once you abandon them, you’ll be amazed at the progress you make.
5 Dumb Myths You Should Abandon
Here are five that I hate to admit I have fallen for at one time or another in my leadership.
1. Success Will Happen Overnight
Who hasn’t fallen for this? And if you don’t believe it, you’ve secretly wanted it, haven’t you?
Yet there are very few overnight successes. Or as my wife has pointed out, it was a very long night.
Whether it’s bands like Passenger, The Band Perry or even the Beatles, musicians often struggle in obscurity and near defeat for years before they break through. Same for writers, businesses and many other leaders.
Even North Point Church, launched in 1995, actually declined in attendance from its initial launch over its first few years before rebounding and becoming the story many church leaders know today. Ditto with LifeChurch, the largest church in America with 29 locations and 80,000 people. Their first venture into multisite failed.
Just ask any of the founders: They’ll tell you those first few years were lean and very difficult.
So what do you do?
Set realistic expectations. Work hard. Celebrate progress, even incremental progress.
As Winston Churchill (whose life was characterized mostly by disappointment prior to World War 2) said, success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
2. Smart Work, Not Hard Work, Will Win the Day
OK. Working smarter is better than simply working harder. Very true.
Working 100+ hours a week is the answer to very few problems and actually only creates more problems. If you can be more efficient and more effective, by all means do so.
But smart work is no substitute for hard work. Working smarter doesn’t mean you can put in a few hours, hit cruise control and coast to victory.
You will always have to work hard on your leadership. You’ll always have to work hard on leading yourself, your team and your mission.
That might not mean 70 hours a week, but it won’t mean cruising into the sunset. When you stop growing, so do the people around you.
And eventually, the good people will leave. They want a leader to push them and push the mission forward.