Each of us has an implicit leadership theory, a mental model we are largely unaware of, that represents the skills, traits, and qualities that define effective leaders. Curiously, the peerreviewed literature has reported almost exclusively on the ideal attributes of leaders, overlooking the axiomatic and taken-for-granted views people have about the activity we colloquially refer to as “leadership.” Some of these beliefs about leadership are so common and accepted as true that challenging them is counterintuitive, yet they can limit organizational effectiveness. In this article, we discuss four common leadership misunderstandings that contribute to the fabric of our self-evident, unexamined common sense view of leadership. Challenging these misconceptions provides the opportunity to create a new paradigm of leadership, one that could enhance organizational performance.

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© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators

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