As a follow up to today’s class discussion on the myth’s of leadership, here are my answers to some of the questions that John C. Maxwell addresses in his book “360 degree leader, Section 1: The Myths of Leading from the Middle of an Organization.”

Myth 1: The Position Myth

What has a peer taught you in this past year?

One of my peers, two years my senior, who learns from the same violin teacher as me taught me that it is crucial that you perform your best at all times whether you have a grand audience of 2,000 people or just a small handful of 10 people. The audience comes to your concert to hear your music, so it is only right that you provide them with the same performance regardless of their size.

Myth 2: The Destination Myth

How are you learning to lead? What opportunities do you currently have that could further develop your leadership skill?

First of all, I am learning to lead through my Leadership 11 class and this workbook that we are working through. The discussions held in class will definitely expand my knowledge of leadership and how to apply it. Currently, as one of the concertmasters of the VYSO, I have the responsibility to lead my section and I think this opportunity could definitely be used to further develop my leadership skills and apply the knowledge learned in the classroom.

Myth 3: The Influence Myth

Do you automatically follow your “boss”, or do you sometimes question his or her direction? Have you ever supported someone who didn’t have an official leadership title?

In most cases, I find it hard to unanimously follow my “boss” regardless of his/her title. I believe that this is partially because I like to pave my own path and also because it’s natural to humans to question others. Even if it is a very skilled “boss” I would still question his/her direction just due to my natural tendency to do so.

Currently, I support/lookup to my mother who is someone without an official leadership title but with great leadership skill. Even though she doesn’t have a title, I still look up to her for her advice and motivation to help me move forward with my life. She is a clear example showing that a leader doesn’t necessarily need a title.

Myth 4: The Inexperience Myth

What factors should chairs of committees take into consideration before making a decision?

I believe that chairs of committees should first of all take into consideration their committee members’ opinions of the topic before making a decision. The role of the chair is not to dictate a committee, but instead to lead one, so they should also take others’ thoughts into consideration like an experience leader would. I believe that chairs of committees should also take into consideration the pros of cons of the decision with the rest of the committee members to make sure everybody is on the same page.

Myth 5: The Freedom Myth

Do you agree that when you move up in an organization, the weight of your responsibility increases?

Yes, I completely agree. A clear example of this would be in an orchestra section. If you’re at the back of the section, all you have to do is follow those at the front and even if you make a mistake, it’s rarely heard, but as you move up towards the front, you begin to have more responsibility. Those at the front are in charge of determining bowings and fingerings, keeping the section together, and following the conductor. This is clearly more responsibility than someone sitting at the back of an orchestra section.

Myth 6: The Potential myth

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel interior without your consent.” How does that idea relate to allowing a title or position to limit your position?

This quote basically states that no one, regardless of their position of title can belittle you or make you feel inferior as long you don’t provide them with consent. This shows that you shouldn’t allow your position to limit what you can do and how you can lead, because there are ways that you can lead even if you’re not at the top.

Myth 7: The All-or-Nothing Myth

The reality for most people is that they will never be the CEO. Does that mean they should just give up leading altogether?

No, certainly not, because although being a CEO is an important position in our society, there are many other positions required for our society to run that still require leadership. For example, the manager of a bookstore will most likely never be the CEO of a grand company, but still to fulfill their role they must use effective leadership to manage the workers of the store. If the manager gave up leading just because he/she wasn’t a CEO, then this bookstore wouldn’t have been able to function properly. Leadership can come of many different sizes, so it is important to not give up leading, for opportunities can rise anywhere.