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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

Thank you comment icon This is a great question! I think it's true for both, some people are born leaders and some are made. And a person could be a mixture of both. There are certain traits people grow up with which makes it easier for them to be a leader. And over the course of time, life experience, schooling, certain traits and skills are learned. So it definitely could be a combination of both. Shamecca Nelson

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Steve’s Answer

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.

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Alexander’s Answer

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!

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Paul G’s Answer

Some leaders have an intuitive sense of what it means to lead others, but leadership can be learned.


The principal trait of all great leaders is the willingness to serve others by demonstrating a sincere sense of caring for those who you lead.

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Michael Louis’s Answer

Hi Timothy,


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!


Mike Pastor

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Renata’s Answer

Hello Tim,


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.

Thank you comment icon Great answer Renata! I was similarly going to recommend Simon Sinek and his Ted Talks in response to this question. His view on leadership and starting with the why is so powerful. I believe that anyone can be a leader if they find the area in which they are the most passionate and drive from the heart. When you believe deeply in something, anything....you are bound to inspire and lead those around you :) Nicole Heiser
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Fiona’s Answer

Hi Tim,


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
http://www.quickmba.com/mgmt/7hab/


I have lived my life focusing on these 7 habits and it does truly work. Enjoy


Kindest regards


Fi

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Ron’s Answer

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!

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Mike’s Answer

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 .

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Phillip’s Answer

Hi Timothy. This is an excellent question that has caused debate among leaders, researchers, and organizations for years. I have been a lean management consultant for several years now. Part of consulting, in this case, is leadership coaching for officers and directors.

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:

Research leadership models or frameworks
Build self-awareness of your strengths and opportunities as a leader
Make the conscious effort to build on strengths and develop opportunities
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Karthik’s Answer

In additional to several points and comments already captured very well, I'd like to share my view that "most Leaders are made" with outstanding passion, dedication, hard work and relentless efforts in pursuit to achieve personal/organization/team goals. Such Leaders gain experience overcoming several challenges constantly improving and scaling themselves. Having said that, there are natural/born leaders who with their inherent personalities/upbringing/acquaintances already exhibit several of the leadership skills very well. These leaders may have an edge but in order to sustain their leadership and to scale further and be successful, they'll put the same amount of efforts and focusing on improvements that would be no different than other leaders. Leadership is a journey and is never done. One needs to keep evolving and improving adapting to various challenges and opportunities. The book "Mindset" by Carol S Dweck provides great insights on how can one acquire and fulfill his/her full potential.

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.




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Chirayu’s Answer

Some argue that leaders are born with certain innate qualities, such as charisma, confidence, and strong communication skills. These individuals may have a natural ability to inspire and influence others. Others argue that leadership is a skill that can be developed and honed over time through education, training, and experience. Those who believe that leaders are made argue that anyone can become a leader with the right mindset, knowledge, and skills. It's likely that a combination of both nature and nurture play a role in the development of leaders. Some people may have a natural inclination towards leadership, but it can also be developed and improved through learning and practice.

Some skills that are often associated with excellent leadership and pioneers include: The ability to think ahead, anticipate problems and opportunities, and plan for the future. The ability to make sound and timely decisions based on accurate and complete information. The ability to understand, manage and express one's own emotions, and recognize and influence the emotions of others. The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and nonverbally, with a wide range of people. The ability to adapt to change, uncertainty, and ambiguity. The ability to generate new and innovative ideas. The ability to see the bigger picture and to inspire others to work towards a common goal. The ability to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failure and maintain a positive attitude. The ability to understand and share the feelings of others. The ability to act with integrity and to make ethical decisions. It's important to note that these skills are not exclusive to leaders and pioneers, and some people may have a stronger inclination in certain areas than others, but with the right mindset, education, and experience anyone can develop these skills to become a leader.
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Aj’s Answer

Hello Timothy,

Great question!

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?
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Karen’s Answer

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?

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Josh’s Answer

Leadership is very much a learned behaviour, though some people find learning that skill easier than others. Just like learning a language, a sport, or any other skill, leadership can be developed by reading the principles of good leaders, putting them into practice, and asking for feedback from others.

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.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16144853-leaders-eat-last

Josh recommends the following next steps:

Find someone whose leadership style inspires you and ask them to share their views on leadership
Volunteer for opportunities where being a leader isn't about a title but the actions you take
When you do group work at home, school, or in the community, pay attention to those at the edges of the group. Include them. Leaders are inclusive.
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Ken’s Answer

Hi Timothy!


You are asking a very important questions. Some traits are inherited and some are learned.


Here are some hints about becoming a better leader.


https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-ways-to-start-building-your-leadership-skills-today-no-matter-where-you-are-on-the-ladder
https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-unconventional-ways-to-become-a-better-leader


Best of luck!

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Kim’s Answer

A little bit of both. Some people have certain attributes and characteristics that make them more apt to become a leader. However, in order to continue to develop as a leader it is important to constantly learn, and fine tune your skills. A true leader is open to feedback, good or bad.
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