Are Leaders Born Or Made?

Yes they are…

With the ever-increasing realization of the need for good leaders in our modern, complicated world, if leaders are “born,” then clearly not enough of them were born to fulfill the great need we all have in our communities.

There is a great need, and people are looking for good leaders in our workplace, academia and government.  We can appreciate the fact that some leaders are born, but more importantly and reassuringly, leaders are also made.   So really the answer to the question, “Are leaders born or made?” The answer is a resounding “YES–on both counts!”

While we observe leaders in action we should ask ourselves, “What is it about the people in leadership positions that I consistently see as ‘good leadership’ within them?”

The first studies of leadership conducted over a hundred years ago, focused on  leadership traits.  The studies of traits looked at people considered to be “Great Leaders,” and asked the question, “What is it about these people who were able to do great things in their life that made them a great leader?”

Researchers and academics reviewed the lives of historical or great leaders looking for common elements or traits that all leaders possessed.  They were looking for traits that could be identified as contributing to a standardized view of what made people great leaders.  It was this study, which was called the “Great Man Era,” (at the time all the subjects studied were men), that was the foundation of leadership study, research and understanding.

Perhaps at the heart of this initial leadership research people also began asking the immortal question, “Are leaders born or made?”

Consider This:

No matter where all the great leaders came have come from in the past, clearly there is a consistent need for leaders to emerge today.

Our workplaces, our schools and our governments need, or more appropriately – are crying out – for strong leadership.  Many people are born as leaders and we see them around us.  But clearly there are not enough of these folks to fill the leadership voids.

Pick an area of passion or need in your life. This could be in your kids’ schools, local government, a non-profit organization in your area, or even a worldwide issue that continues to pull at your heart.

What is it that you see, why are you passionate about it, and what would you like to see improved?

It is this natural pull or calling from within your being that is the seed for action and leadership within you.

Take these steps to begin leading without authority:

  • Tend to it – don’t brush it off as a passing feeling or emotion.  Explore your prompting – there is meaning and action that only you can contribute
  • Provide it nourishment, water it and allow it to grow. What I mean is, find a way to get involved.  Make a phone call, send an email,  post your ideas to an organization’s blog, or create your own blog communicating directly by calling others attention to the need you see.
  • Support your passion in a way that is aligned with who you are and what you are capable of doing.  Start where you are and continue to live out your calling.
  • Learn as much as possible about the subject. While you recognize the urgent need for the issue, learning more only helps you to be more effective in focusing your message and contributing your best.
  • Give voice to the need by inviting others to recognize it as well. Be assured that there are other people in your community with the same feelings, promptings and needs.  Discover a way for you to connect with them and act together toward a common goal.

We must lead from where we are and contribute our best for those who will follow after us.  All you need to do is take that first step.