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  • Writer's pictureKaty More

Debunking Outdated Notions of Leadership

In today's world, where leadership is often viewed as a symbol of individual prowess, a new study has uncovered some long-standing but damaging misunderstandings about what leadership really means.


A study led by Professor Alex Haslam from the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland has labelled these enduring misconceptions as "zombie leadership" as, despite being proven wrong multiple times, these old-fashioned ideas still influence how people think in society, which could affect individuals, groups, and organisations in various ways.


"It's known as 'zombie leadership' because despite being demonstrably false, these claims refuse to die," explains Professor Haslam.


Professor Alex Haslam

"One example is the assumption that leadership is exclusive to people with special qualities which set them apart from the masses."


Furthermore, zombie leadership perpetuates harmful notions such as the belief that all leadership is the same, that good leadership is easily recognisable, and that people are incapable of coping without leaders.


Such beliefs not only undermine the potential of individuals but also foster inequalities within society.


"Zombie leadership is poisonous for organisations and society," asserts Professor Haslam.


"It fuels narcissism and obstructs the realisation of others' potential."


The research offers strategies for overcoming zombie leadership. It suggests raising awareness about its existence, enabling individuals to identify and challenge it when encountered.


Fostering inclusivity and enhancing group success by embracing leadership as a collaborative endeavour, open to contributions from all, is also recommended.


"It's time to work together to stamp out zombie leadership because it has persisted for far too long," emphasises Professor Haslam.


These findings resonate profoundly in Moreton Bay, where community dynamics and organisational structures are pivotal in shaping the region's trajectory. By dispelling the myth of zombie leadership, Moreton Bay can tap into its diverse and dynamic community, with a range of talents and perspectives waiting to be harnessed.


Professor Haslam's research, published in The Leadership Quarterly, suggests challenging outdated perceptions of leadership isn't just about reshaping organisational dynamics; it's about heeding the call to embrace a new paradigm of leadership that celebrates collaboration, inclusivity and the boundless potential of every individual.

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