Posts Tagged ‘leadership trap’

9/11 Dispels the Leaders Are Born Not Made Leadership Myth

Today here in the USA we remember that terrible day 16 years ago when nearly 3,000 lives were lost on American soil.  From the stories of the survivors, we know without question the leadership myth that leaders are born not made is just that a myth.  From the first responders to those brave Americans who attempted to take down terrorists (Todd Beamer “Let’s roll”)  on a plane (Flight #93) over Shankesville, PA, we heard and saw average people made into leaders because of the events of that horrific day.

Throughout history we have witnessed leaders being made by life’s events.  One of my favorite leaders was Audie Murphy. The reason I find him so fascinating was he had no leadership characteristics that many believe leaders must have such as:

  • Wealth
  • High intelligence
  • A family of influence
  • Average age 40 to 60
  • Highly educated
  • Good looking (handsome to beautiful)

Audie Murphy was a poor Texas dirt farmer who enlisted in the Army to provide for his siblings as his father had left the farm and his mother had died.  He didn’t even have a high school education.  His family was not affluent and he lied about his age to enlist.

Yet this poor, rather uneducated, very young, man became the most decorated U.S. solider in WWII. His background defied the leadership myth that leaders are born not made.

After leaving the service, Murphy wrote a book, To Hell and Back, which was turned into a movie.  He played himself in that movie and went on to become an actor.  He unfortunately died in an airplane crash at the age of 45.

Each of us has the ability to be an incredible leader. Of course we must have strong personal convictions (positive core values) so we do not fall into the leadership trap of “go along to get along.” We must be motivated to become a leader because of family obligations to one’s personal purpose to helping others as we saw on 9/11.

So the next time you read or hear this leadership myth that leaders are born not made, remember 9/11 or look to a family member who defied this myth.  I am sure you will see leaders are made each and every day regardless of demographics or circumstance.

 

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