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The Biggest Leadership Myths

As Dr. Linda Talley worked with MBA students, she noticed that many of them had global misconceptions about leadership—and she set out to debunk those myths. This morning, Linda presented some of her findings at the BOMA International Conference & Expo international affiliate breakfast.


Linda, snapped here with South African Property Owners Association CEO Neil Gopal (BOMA International Regional Council chair), says one of the misconceptions is that leaders have high IQs. While that’s true, and is good for the selection process, it’s the emotional quotient that’s going to keep them in their leadership positions. Another myth is that leaders are born. That only accounts for one-third of a leader; two-thirds of a leader is made, she points out. Continuously developing yourself to become more effective, motivate others and achieve change will set you apart from other leaders. She shared a favorite proverb: “Don’t stand by the water and long for a fish,” she says. “Go home and weave a net.”


Linda had attendees participate in an exercise where they clasped their hands over their heads for two minutes. This position increases testosterone (the empowerment hormone) and decreases cortisone (the stress hormone). Another thing people need to know, she notes, is that leaders and managers are not the same—leaders exist in a more dynamic world, while managers are more static. Not every leader is a manager, but all managers must be good leaders. There is also a difference in how men and women approach leadership, she says. While women can be assertive in female-dominated industries, they won’t be as respected or perceived as powerful in male-dominated industries. “You have to learn how to balance personal attributes to be more effective,” she says. Attendees from 10 of BOMA’s 17 international affiliates are at the conference, including 36 from Canada, 26 from Japan and 22 from China.