How to Be a Leader: Dispelling the Myths

Tips to Improve Your Leadership Communication

How to Be a Leader: Dispelling the Myths

No matter what position you hold in your company, your ability to lead will greatly determine the extent of your success. Leadership skills enable you to guide customers effectively, get team members and company leadership to buy in to your ideas, and develop the respect and reputation you need to get ahead.

Leadership is written about extensively, yet the concept is widely misunderstood. Recognizing the following myths and misconceptions can help you become the kind of leader that others genuinely want to follow.

Leadership is about power.

This may be the most dangerous misconception because attempting to lead based on power and control actually undermine someone’s ability to lead. A great definition of leadership is the one developed by the GLOBE (for Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) project. Led by Professor Robert J. House of the Wharton School, the project defined leadership as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members.”

The key terms are “influence,” “motivate,” and “enable.” Leaders don’t control or direct others; rather, they use their influence and passion to create a direction and vision for the organization and provide people with the inspiration and resources they need to achieve it.

Leadership is about title or position.

Many people mistakenly believe that leadership is reserved for an organization’s top executives. But you don’t need a particular title or position to be a leader. It’s important to understand the difference between leadership and management. Management guru Peter Drucker famously said that “Leadership is doing the right things; management is doing things right.” Managers control or direct those who report to them to ensure that they do things right. Leaders inspire others by doing the right things and encouraging others to “follow their lead.” Understood in this way, anyone can be a leader, regardless of their role in the organization.

Leaders are extroverted and charismatic.

There are countless lists of important leadership qualities, but few, if any, mention extroversion or charisma. Leadership is less about personal characteristics and more about things like honesty, integrity, accountability, empathy, passion, listening, and the ability to delegate. Displaying these attributes and behaviors doesn’t require a particular personality type.

To Be a Leader, Act Like One

The best way to become a leader in your organization is to behave like one. In “Act Like a Leader Before You Are One” (Harvard Business Review 2013), author Amy Gallo offers several strategies forgetting recognized as a leader. They include:

• Do a great job. Regardless of your future ambitions, you still have to deliver results in your current job.
• Help your boss succeed. Gallo says, “Find out what keeps your manager up at night and propose solutions to those problems.”
• Seize leadership opportunities, no matter how small. “Raise your hand for new initiatives,” Gallo recommends, “especially ones that might be visible to those outside your unit.”
• Be a leader in the community. Opportunities to demonstrate leadership aren’t limited to the workplace. Consider sitting on the board of a local nonprofit or getting involved in community organizing.
• Make yourself stand out by taking on problems that others aren’t aware of or are unwilling to tackle.

These are just a few strategies for becoming a leader in your organization. For additional guidance, please contact us.


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Alan Olsen, CPA

Alan Olsen, is the Host of the American Dreams Show and the Managing Partner of  GROCO is a premier family office and tax advisory firm located in the San Francisco Bay area serving clients all over the world.

Alan L. Olsen, CPA, Wikipedia Bio is a proud sponsor of The American Dreams Show.



The American Dreams show was the brainchild of Alan Olsen, CPA, MBA. It was originally created to fill a specific need; often inexperienced entrepreneurs lacked basic information about raising capital and how to successfully start a business.

Alan sincerely wanted to respond to the many requests from aspiring entrepreneurs asking for the information and introductions they needed. But he had to find a way to help in which his venture capital clients and friends would not mind.

The American Dreams show became the solution, first as a radio show and now with YouTube videos as well. Always respectful of interview guest’s time, he’s able to give access to individuals information and inspiration previously inaccessible to the first-time entrepreneurs who need it most.

They can listen to venture capitalists and successful business people explain first-hand, how they got to where they are, how to start a company, how to overcome challenges, how they see the future evolving, opportunities, work-life balance and so much more..

American Dreams discusses many topics from some of the world’s most successful individuals about their secrets to life’s success. Topics from guest have included:

Creating purpose in life / Building a foundation for their life / Solving problems / Finding fulfillment through philanthropy and service / Becoming self-reliant / Enhancing effective leadership / Balancing family and work…

Untitled_Artwork copy 4 (Also sponsored by GROCO) provides free access to content and world-class entrepreneurs, influencers and thought leaders’ personal success stories. To help you find your path in life to true, sustainable success & happiness.  It’s mission statement:

In an increasingly complex and difficult world, we hope to help you find your personal path in life and build a strong foundation by learning how others found success and happiness. True and sustainable success and happiness are different for each one of us but possible, often despite significant challenges.

Our mission at is to provide resources and firsthand accounts of how others found their paths in life, so you can do the same.

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