You’re Not A Superhero

It’s easy to believe that leaders are superheroes — people with special powers who can swoop in to solve any problem quickly and with few consequences.

The problem is, you’re not a superhero.  

Capes Don’t Fit

I’ve tried on the cape. It doesn’t fit. As a younger man, I thought leading meant having to solve everyone’s problems. Or, even worse, when a problem developed, I pressured myself to tackle it all on my own.

Eventually, I realized that leaders solve problems by building great teams. I had to reframe my concept of a hero.

Enable Others to Act

Real superheroes don’t have super strength, they gather strength from creating strong teams. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, suggest that real superheroes enable others to act.

“Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams,” the book states. “They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.”

Fonder of the Servant Leadership movement, Robert Greenleaf said the test of a good leader is whether those served “grow as persons.” “Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” he wrote. 

Take Your Leadership to New Heights

Our upcoming program, The Leadership Challenge, will empower you to embrace the five practices of exemplary leadership: Inspire a Shared Vision, Model the Way, Enable Others to Act, Challenge the Process and Encourage the Heart.

Scholarships are available for this program, from 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Muncie’s Innovation Connector.


About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.  Learn more about Mitch »