You have to be charismatic to be a leader (Myth 1 out of 5 on leadership)

I’d like to flat out tell you (and hope you’d be convinced) that last week was life-changing for me but you’re going to be indifferent. I would only hope that you would believe me and take everything I say as pure truth, but I know you will not empathize with what I’m about to tell you unless you experience what I did yourself. Even though I know all of this about you, I believe in a greater purpose for story telling and sharing.

What was possibly one of the most emotionally exhausting 6 days of my life has given me the opportunity to better understand myself and the people I love – or rather humanity as a whole. I journeyed through self-discovery alongside 60 other equally-as-confused students. We were so naive now that I look back to the first day; on the school bus heading to Guelph that Sunday morning. I was talking to the then-strangers around me about the programs we were in, where we live, a few interesting things about one another – you know, a little more than small talk. And then we sang a couple of songs together assuming this trip was going to be another week-long event where you get to meet amazing people and learn more about how to be a better person.

We weren’t wrong, but we were also so very wrong...


If you prefer to skip down to where I talk about the 5 myths of leadership, click here because I’ll warn you now: this is going to be a lengthy post.

All 61 of us applied for this program because somebody either told us to go to have our lives completely transformed, or because somebody told us if we don’t go we’ll regret it. I have serious FOMO (fear of missing out) and I was told a multitude of things (all positive) so I decided to just go for it. I had absolutely no idea what I was about to get myself into.

We were all about to be put under the microscope – every part of our heart and soul was about to be dissected for flaws that we would have to come to terms with and work past. We were also going to find the gold that makes us shine like the beautiful humans we were created to be. We were about to learn what it means to be human, something we humans have corrupted the meaning of since day 1.

I stepped out of my comfort zone more times than I can remember. I opened up about things I’ve never even told the people who know me best. I realized things about myself I was so blind to. I became this new person that I’m completely ready to use for the greater good and purpose of this world.

I learned that my conception of what it means to be a leader was completely a MIS-conception. A leader is what every human being was created to be  become. Not all of us have had the opportunity to understand this, and some of us (*ahem* Hitler) have taken advantage of this fact to use it for their own power and self-love.

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I want to share with you one of the gifts I received this week granted by Leadershape Institute.

5 myths on what it means to be a leader:

  • You have to be bossy and dominant. So totally, completely, incredibly… FALSE. Effective leaders do not overrule others, nor do they assume they are the most important in the room – ever. Humility is their doctrine.
  • You have to have a position of power. You can be a CEO and be the most lousy leader on earth if you don’t care about anybody except for yourself. Leaders should be submissive at times and embrace the role of serving rather than controlling.
  • You have to be charismatic. There are dominant leaders, influential leaders, steady leaders, and conscientious leaders (information courtesy of DISC Classic personal profile system aka a personality test I did last week). Some of the most charismatic people don’t really have a sense of purpose as to who they want to be and what they want to achieve for humanity. They just like the attention (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s always better to know what you want and how you want to lead. What’s your vision?)
  • People were born leaders. Emotional intelligence is key. Your IQ is apparently harder to change but lucky for you, EQ is not! You can learn how to be a more empathetic person and a more empowering individual. Nobody was “born” a leader. Some people were born with a more extraverted personality but that does not make them a leader *refer to #3.
  • Leaders know everything. Let me be the first to tell you that this is so untrue. Even though I am a student leader at my school, I can’t even name 10 clubs we have. Y’all, I’m trying this new thing where I’m completely transparent and honest… I know my supervisor might even read this! Leaders are good at pretending they know everything because people put them on a pedestal but y’all need to know we’re just as confused as you, we just really love the world and want to do everything in our power to change it for the better.

Thanks to Leadershape…

I am the leader I hope to be now because I met a group of people who completely transformed the way I look at things.

I am the leader I hope to be now because I believe that integrity leads farther and with more power than anything else.

I am the leader I hope to be now because I learned that humanity is broken and needs people who can mend with love.

I am the leader I hope to be now because I vowed to stay true to my core values and follow through to my word until I see my vision come to life in this world.

I am the leader I hope to be now because I know for a fact that we were meant to be connected and loved for who we are.

Notice I used “the leader I hope to be” because I realize there is still work that needs to be done. I may be a leader to some but in order to reach my full potential and become the best version of a leader, I, Amanda, was created to become – I have to keep learning and keep growing.

I still struggle with being who I was made to be but I write posts like this and I share it with the world so that everyone can hold me accountable of being who I say I am. If I want to tell you to stay positive, y’all better keep me accountable of being positive. I know we’re all human though and we’re not perfect so bare with me when I don’t live up to the standards I set out for myself but life is such an extraordinary gift I’m willing to explore!

I also believe you will take what you learn from reading posts like this to become a better you and ultimately who you were made to be (which is yourself, your true and lovely self).

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. That simple, that difficult.” – Warren Bennis

I urge anybody who is a student at York, whether you are a great leader already or whether you are striving to be one – mature students, International students, ANYBODY. This is a PSA that you haaaave to take advantage of this opportunity next year. Apply to go to Leadershape! You won’t regret it and this post doesn’t serve justice to its power and life-altering message. Look into it here.

Love you beautiful readers, please keep being you – because you were fearfully and wonderfully made!


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