Are Leaders born or made?
I am a high school student and I consider myself a leader. I however, want to improve my leadership skills as I will be taking on bigger leadership positions in the next school year. I know that leaders are made through learning and teaching but also, could it be true that we may be born with some certain traits that could set us up for excellent leadership? Additionally , what are some skills that make excellent leaders and pioneers? engineering career finance professional marketing leadership coaching sales personal-development
Great question! I think it's fair to say that some people do have certain natural attributes that lend themselves to leadership e.g. self-awareness. However, in my view, seeking regular feedback on your leadership style and acting on that feedback is key. This allows you to overcome any blind spots and shows you are truly connected to the team that you are leading. The important thing to consider is the difference between leading and managing. Leading is setting out the vision and providing clarity on what the team needs to do and why. Managing is putting that vision into action through clear objectives that are tracked and measured.
Leadership is a natural instinct, certainly a sense one carries, others don't. Very important is feedback from others. Stating "I am a leader" does not prove this. Feedback can be direct or indirect. Do people talk openly, do they behave intimidated? Listen and watch! Leaders always stand in the first line. Lead by example and always stay on top of information needed about you market, profession. Know what is going on, share and inspire. Best of luck!
I believe that most leaders are "made" by their experiences. Here are two things that I wish I had focused on more in my early career:
1) Make other people feel important - If you focus too much on yourself, you will never be a good leader. Read the classic books on emotional intelligence ( EQ ) like Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People". EQ can be even more important than IQ in this world!
2) Get comfortable with Public Speaking - A leader communicates ideas. Being able to address a crowd is essential. Get over your "stage fright" by joining public speaking groups like Toastmasters International. I personally have the Toastmaster's CC certification.
Hope this helps - Good Luck!
I believe there are natural born leaders and also leaders that are made through life.In both ways there are always room for improvement. Leadership is about serving others. Is about finding courage to try and fail, to learn and grow. Being a leader has to do with what kind of atmosphere you will provide to your team, peers and bosses. I love the Simon Sinek's Ted Talk: Why good leaders make you fell safe?. Simon Sinek has great articles and talks about leadership.
To be a real leader is to help your company and your people be successful. So it is important to make sure you have your feet on the ground and your truly understand what is happening around you. A book I would recommend to you or this link
I have lived my life focusing on these 7 habits and it does truly work. Enjoy
Very important question , I believe that leaders can be both Born and Made
However most in my experience are made through both life and business experience because communications and interpersonal skills are absolutely critical, especially when a crisis erupts or when leaders have too deal with organizational change , Business experience helps because confidence to take risks is critical .
Leadership is expressed in many different forms and people react to leaders differently. A couple of key traits:
Be informed on the subject matter in which you are tying lead. You do NOT need to be an expert but you should be able to apply your knowledge in a practical manner;
Identify peoples strengths and allow people to use their strengths to build confidence;
and MOST importantly, you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion!
In my experience, some individuals exhibit leadership traits intuitively. However, the best leaders I have worked with are those who are actively aware of their own leadership capabilities (or leadership gaps) and actively choose to build on strengths and work to fill in leadership gaps.
There are various leadership frameworks out there that can help define leadership in objective terms, but one of my favorites is the Shingo principles of lean thinking:
- Respect Every Individual
- Lead with Humility
- Seek Perfection
- Embrace Scientific Thinking
- Focus on Process
- Assure Quality at the Source
- Improve Flow & Pull
- Think Systemically
- Create Constancy of Purpose
- Create Value for the Customer
In particular, "Respect Every Individual" and "Focus on Process" are two principles that really showcase leadership. Individuals who can separate a process from the individuals completing the process are able to build coalitions, enact real change, and maintain respect for people simultaneously.
This isn't the only framework out there (and truthfully, these principles are a very tactical approach to management), so I encourage you to go and find other frameworks and models that highlight traits of strong leadership for yourself. Ultimately, you have to choose whether or not you want to further develop your leadership capability. No one else can build these strengths for you.
Phillip recommends the following next steps:
People focus, Listening, Empathy, Constant Learning, Communication, Emotional balance and strong technical skills in the area of work are key skills that makes one a strong & effective leader. There are lot of amazing books that provide excellent insights helping one reality check and finding methods and ways to improve being more effective and successful.
You are asking a very important questions. Some traits are inherited and some are learned.
Here are some hints about becoming a better leader.
Best of luck!
I do believe that leaders are born with the strength, and the fact that you say you want to go in that direction, means you must have that strength in you. It takes knowledge, wisdom, openess to be a good leader. You have to be a good listener so you know what are the needs of the group that you want to lead. You have to know the topic/ project to know what is for the good of the group and how to guide others through your wishes to get the task done for the group. A good leader is an example for others to follow and admire.
Is this helpful?
I gave the answer below to another question about suggested books. The answer is very applicable to your question too.
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek was absolutely transformational for me and my career. Simon sets the standard for leaders using his military experience to explain how great leaders act, speak, think, and, most important, lead.
Most important, Sinek identifies that leaders identified in an org chat. A manager is not a leader simply because they have the role of manager. Why does that matter? You can be a leader!! Leading doesn't mean telling people what to do or having a title, leadership is about making your team better because you are a part of it.
Sir Isaac Newton once said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." The role of a leader is to be the shoulders that help those around you to see further.
Josh recommends the following next steps:
Taking up leadership positions early in life is a great thing. It helps you understand and explore who you are.
I would say see your leadership aspirations and upcoming positions as opportunities to understand YOU more.
Note that in one area in life you can be a leader and in another area you can be a follower.
I will respond to your question with another question, if you do not mind.
My question to you is;
Why do you want to be a leader?
Is anything wrong with being a follower?
My humble opinion: Leadership is service. Are you ready to serve?
Being outgoing, having natural charisma etc. There are also a lot of qualities that you can train yourself to acquire.
If your ambition is to lead then ask yourself what qualities do I naturally posses that would help me in this regard and what qualities do I need to learn?
The people throughout history that have been leaders all have very diverse personality types. Some became leaders due to circumstance. Some became leaders due to their overwhelming drive for success and others due to the oppression they faced.
While they may have had some central universal qualities not all of these were qualities they were born with.
You have to play the cards you've been dealt and utilize the resources at your disposal whether natural or attained through training.
As for some skills to help make a great leader I would count communication (especially the ability to change communication style depending on the type of person you are dealing with), empathy, and the ability to see the bigger picture in terms of what is trying to be achieved as being key. I also think it is also really important to understand you can't do it all yourself and that trusting the team around you to do what is needed (don't micro-manage - I have never seen a great leader who does that!).
Being a manager doesn't make that person a leader and many leaders are not managers. One important thing is leaders help themselves and others do the right thing. Some qualities of a leader are integrity, self-awareness, good communication and empathy for others.
I hope this helps.
I think that it is a combination of the two. There are people with natural abilities that make great leaders. These people however have been molded by people around them and or their experiences. I have had the privilege of being around many great leaders who I have been able to learn from and who have mentored me. Would I say that I was born a leader or made a leader? I would say that I had the ability to lead but have learned from others and have been able to hone my leadership skills. My best advice is to find a mentor, more than one if you can and learn as much as you can.
Then there are the leaders that, in my opinion, are made. Some of these individuals may have high EI and may naturally posses some core competencies; but, require additional training and/or experiences to improve and/or increase their IQ in the areas of leadership.
One key mark of leadership is "servant leadership." Explore this concept. The "best" leaders are those that are willing to empower the folks that they are leading.
Great question. From my perspective leaders are born - great leaders are made. Either you've got it or you don't. It takes a certain type of individual to create a vision, communicate that vision, and gain follower-ship and support. That said, you should always be in a consent state of learning throughout your life and career. It's hard to imagine that any individual was simply born a great leader without learning from others along the way. Even simply observing poor leadership skills is an opportunity to learn. My final bit of advice would be to never get too full of yourself. Leaders need to be confident but remain authentic and approachable to create trust and follower-ship. Good luck on your career.
Base increases as you use more. Subscription increases as your situations demand more. The more you use leadership in you, the more you become confident and increase your base. The more variety of situations you face the more mature you become.
In becoming successful at both, the only thing that matters is the stand you take for the success of your idea, your program, your people. Nothing else.
Thank you for the great question! I feel that leaders are both born and made. Everyone is a leader. When I was at a leadership summit back in 2013, I was given a great definition of a leader: "a person who has influence". Everyone has influence in some way, shape or form. That said though, great leaders are also made. Experiences help you make a great leader. Drive and passion also help one to become a great leader. Many great qualities that make a great leader, but you were also born a leader as you have the capability of influencing others. Hope that this helps.
Brinda recommends the following next steps:
I believe leaders are made and not born. Of course some people are more approachable and lead naturally. However, anyone can develop skills over time to become a leader. Remember, it is all about how bad you want something and what you are willing to sacrifice.
When someone says that leadership is instinctual they are not giving credit to the work that is needed to lead. The more relevant question is what instinctual habits make a good leader, since leadership does not happen by accident.
Some habits that a good leader posses is:
1. They look at themselves when things go wrong.
2. They praise the people around them when things go well.
3. They set an example.
4. They lead from the front.
John C Maxwell wrote a book called The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I recommend this as a book and as an audio book.
Yes, I do believe there are natural born leaders, but even these leaders improve their leadership skills over time with
continuous learning. Being a leader requires a certain amount of courage and fearlessness, it seems to me you've
acquired some of these soft skills already.
Read inspirational motivating books by industry leaders, athletes, entertainers et., You'll certainly learn more to
incorporate on your pathway to leadership.
I really believe it's a mixture of both. There are individuals who have personality traits that really make them "a natural" at being leaders. They are charismatic, good listeners, trustworthy, know when to impose themselves...but these are all qualities that individuals can work on as well.
I am a first believer that being a leader entails knowing when to stand in front and when to stand behind your team. Working as a shield and roadblock remover or as a cheerleader. Knowing when to applaud or when to provide constructive criticism.
Fortunately, for those of us who aren't naturally born leaders, there are a lot of tools out there we can leverage to ensure we don't miss the mark!
Best of luck to you!
My successes as a leader has always been to 1. put myself in the other person's shoes and how would I want to hear the information? If it's feedback on how to improve-how would I want that information portrayed to me? 2. Always honest and transparent with my answers-explain the "why" behind the information you are providing to your peers/team
Leaders also recognize that they are not always in charge, but members of a team. They are ready to serve as opposed to simply being "the boss".
This is a great question. I do believe leaders a taught. People get leadership confused with being in charge. One does not have to be in charge to lead. I would suggest before next year, find somebody you could shadow that would help you to become an even better leader. Show others you know how to follow.
I think the answer is BOTH. Some people are certainly born with natural abilities to communicate with others and persuade people to follow their path. But it is also true that you can acquire these skills through learning and practical experience. So, take advantage of learning opportunities, volunteer to take on new roles and responsibilities, and work on improving your presentation and communication skills.
Leadership qualities are something that some are born with, and others aspire to achieve. One can always improve on their leadership skills, whether this be through activities/ courses, or speaking to leaders in your every day life. Providing people with direction and encouragement is a quality that one should strive for. Leadership is a skill that can take you many directions in life.
You are not born a leader, nobody can teach you how to be a leader; however you can learn it. There is 3 traits that are common to leaders:
- Know what have to be done — Vision
- Take care of your people
- Be able to plant the side on what have to be done to your people
The impediments to suppressing your leadership skills is fear of failure. Taking the lead to find a good mentor will go a long way into overcoming the same.
Girish recommends the following next steps:
There are numerous skills that contribute to make you an effective leader I will cite some from Dr. Harrison (2018) book on modern leadership:
- Technical and business skills
- Interpersonal skills (such as emotional intelligence, communication, motivating, self-management and people management)
- conceptual skills (such as analysis, idea generation, problem solving, envisioning, strategic planning and decision making)
Most of the foregoing does not require from you to hold on a leader role. Needless to mention that early years experience is considered as an important factor in leadership development (this has been an area of research for many researchers in leadership development for instance Gill (2011) and Bennis and Thomas (2002) )
I believe a leader is made, and it starts from within. You need to be able to manage yourself and carry yourself in such open manner that you find it second nature to help other better themselves and make others believe they can become better by following you and your beliefs in being a CHAMPION.
It starts off with being the first one in to set up shop and the last one out from cleaning the room and having it ready for the next day.
Allow look to find out HOW - How did he do that, How is she on the top level of her game, How is he always the first in.
Find your desire, your motivation , your passion and like gravity the universe will give you a push.
"A champion keeps playing until they get it right" - Billie Jean King
Remember to define leadership! Leadership is the ability to provide direction, purpose and motivation in accomplishing of ones goals. Part of that is to understand people and what motivates them, then make sure you are ready to answer the question of "why" Americans love to ask why am I doing that! Once you get those items done then find out how to get that individual to understand how to accomplish that work or task. The key is listening, and motivating for any and all leadership positions.
It is advisable to read up on leadership - although with the technology today, the best would be to watch YouTube videos on famous leaders, and try to read between the lines on what they have achieved.
You can definitely learn leadership skills and lead a team, but it's the intangible parts of you that will make you great.
Just think about all the great leaders in the public eye, that gives you the most inspiration. Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King...etc.
One of the traits of best leaders is the knowledge that you can always learn more to improve and that you don't have all the answers. Your self awareness about expanding and growing your base skills is a strong indicator that you have great potential--don't lose sight of that even as you become more accomplished and confident. I agree with what many have said before about nature vs nurture and that both are possible, but both need work and nurturing. Much good inspirational content suggestions (love Simon Sinek!) in the prior responses, and I would add that you should look for opportunities to build and flex the leadership muscle through training orgs and action-based courses designed for young/growing leaders. I don't know what's available to you locally but many civic and business groups invest in this kind of training and can help address specific aspects of leadership (e.g. highly effective introvert leaders can struggle with communicating at scale or public speaking, extrovert leaders may need to learn more skills that overtly demonstrate they are listening or being inclusive, and so forth). I would encourage you to delve into the fantastic resources via internet, but also look for real-world ways to "practice" leadership and understand how your skills translate in a variety of situations. You sound like you're on a good track and good luck!
Julie recommends the following next steps:
Leaders can be both, its more important to understand what a leader is. We have many unsung leaders. People who take initiative, get things done and don't look for the glory of being acknowledge for their leadership. They are the silent unassuming leaders. You also have those leaders that like to be the seen and vocal but they need to work harder at being open and listening to others accepting other point of views and acknowledging failures.
Stay ground, have an excellent support system that will help you stay grounded.