How to Change the Leadership Myth

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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A lot is written about leadership and continues to be written about leadership. Most will agree that leadership is a primary factor in the success of organizations and individuals from small businesses to entrepreneurs. Developing effective leaders is an ongoing goal for many education and training departments both in the public and private sectors.

Unfortunately, within much of these published works as well as seminars and training programs, the myth continues that leaders are born not made. This is undoubtedly absolute HOGWASH and insults all that have achieved success when others with far more “born advantages" have failed.

Leaders are made and not born! This is a fact. Our country continues to be one of the best environments for providing opportunities for leaders to be made. The following is exemplifies how leaders are truly made.

He failed in business.

He was defeated in the legislature.

He failed in business again.

He was elected to state legislature.

He was defeated as speaker for the legislature.

He was defeated for elector.

He lost a race for U. S. Congressional seat.

He gained a seat in Congress.

He lost that seat in Congress.

He lost a race for U. S. Senator.

He ran for Vice-President and lost.

He ran again for U. S. Senator and lost.

He was elected 16th President of the United States of America.

Over 100 years ago, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, believed that leaders are made, not born when he penned this words: “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well. "

To change this leadership myth begins with embracing the belief that everyone has the potential to be a leader. Then each individual needs to reaffirm that belief through a positive self-affirmation statement or what I now call a “belief affirmation" beginning with this one. “I am a leader, first of myself, and then of others. "

Why does this myth continue that leaders are born not made and more importantly why do people pay to hear this myth? Possibly, this is because those who perpetuate this myth don’t want the average individual to see herself or himself as a leader who can ultimately achieve success in spite of failure upon failure.

Copyright 2005(c) Leanne Hoagland-Smith,

This article may be freely published. Permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way (grammatical corrections accepted).

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M. S. CEO of ADVANCED SYSTEMS located outside of Chicago, IL, is the Learning & Process Specialist. With over 25 years of business & education experience, she helps her clients to double their performance. By uniting systems, strategies and people to create loyal internal customers, Leanne delivers ROI solutions in 4 key areas: financials, leadership, relationships and growth & innovation within a variety of industries including education, healthcare, manufacturing and professional services. As co-author of M. A. G. I. C. A. L. Potential: 7 Capacities for Living an Amazing Life Beyond Purpose to Achievement due for 2005 release, Leanne speaks nationally to a variety of audiences. Please contact Leanne at 219.759.5601 or visit if you are seeking to connect your passion to your purpose to double your performance for unheard of results.


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