The debate carries on: Are leaders born or can anyone become a leader? Colleen makes some very interesting and relevant observations here, but I would suggest the critical factor would be to determine what we regard as “leading” and when a person qualifies to be a leader. For instance, is someone with strong (inborn) leadership capabilities a leader even if he or she is not leading anyone? Or the opposite – is someone without any natural leadership capabilities who have learned basic leadership skills which he or she uses to lead people, not a leader? My personal take is that just about anyone could improve their leadership skills: some from poor to acceptable; others from acceptable to good; and yet others from good to great. What do you think?
Whether or not we like it, leaders are born, not made. Although our culture would like to believe that there is a kernel of leadership in everyone, I’m just not convinced.
While there might be a bit of leader deep inside everyone, that does not make them a leader. People become leaders when they step forward and when they are accepted as leader by their followers. So let’s break this process down.
In order to step forward, an individual needs to have the desire and drive to lead. Research suggests that these factors are personality traits, long-lived and durable. In order to be accepted by followers, a prospective leader needs to be perceived as a leader by the followers. Traits such as intelligence, physical attractiveness and extraversion are traits that followers look for in a leader. You haven’t seen a fat President of the United States in the past 50…
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