Leadership Paradigm Shift: 5 Misconceptions About Leadership

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison


Personal GrowthHow do you continue to grow in your professional skills?

When a question is presented to 10 leaders, there are typically more than 10  responses, because each of them has a unique perspective on what leadership really is about. Many times, when that question is followed up with one about what’s missing in their skill set or what they wish could be different, those answers are even more diverse. All of the answers are astounding in that many people who lead organizations have a gap in recognizing and understanding their own personal gaps.

All of us have had people from whom we have learned leadership. We have also inherited leadership systems and cultures when assuming the leadership role in an organization. Both of these sources are flawed. We learn leadership methods that don’t work, and we are immersed into a dysfunctional or low-functioning culture to create different results than the previous leader – many times, when change is not a desired element.

It’s time to break this cycle which exists in corporate America big time, as well as in the social benefit sector of nonprofits and religious organizations.

First of all, we have been taught wrong!

Here’s what we have been taught about leadership:

  • The leader is a dictator
  • The leader always has the right answers
  • The leader defines the goal and the action items for others to implement
  • The leader can say, “Do as I say and not as I do”
  • The leader can change others in the culture

If those are your paradigms for leadership – how’s it working for you?

Here’s the better way:

  • The leader is the person of influence
  • The leader asks good questions and listens carefully to the responses
  • The leader defines the vision and milestones in specific measurable terms and lets the team co-create the action plan
  • The leader models what they want to see in others
  • The leader changes the behavior of others by changing themselves

As I have stated in many previous articles and presentations, I define a leader as:

  1. Person who gets things done
  2. Person who knows how things get done (or learns now)
  3. Person of influence (both positive and negative – Gandhi vs. Hitler)

So, how does a leader transform this situation?

  • Begin by transforming themselves: Become a serious student of a different paradigm in leading. I suggest that Transformational Leadership is the key. Check out my intensive self-study online program that is now available for continuing education credits from many organizations. Get the free overview here: (the free report is “Building the Business of Your Dreams,” targeted to start-up entrepreneurs; however, the principles are the same if you run a multinational company or a local church or nonprofit. Free videos are included.)
  • Enroll in Roberta Gilbert’s Extraordinary Leadership Seminar. It changed my perspective and supercharged my leadership work around the globe. Her organization is the Center for the Study of Human Systems. Here’s the link for information:
  • Enroll in CEO Space, a Business Growth Conference. It’s the most amazing event you will ever attend! It’s not just a conference. It’s a membership in an exclusive organization of cooperative leadership. Here’s the link for more information:
  • Hire a personal coach. There’s no substitute for having a confidential advisor who will speak the truth directly, and help achieve progress and set accountability standards. Think about the most successful athletes, performers, public speakers, and others who have achieved and maintain a high level of excellence and income. If you want a free consultation from me, book it here:

Whatever you do, do not go it on your own to save money. That strategy will actually cost you more money and waste valuable time. Spend the money and enjoy the results. By the way, you have to do the work. There is no shortcut.

Successful people do what others are not willing to do.


Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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(c) 2014 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
Hugh Ballou (Author)