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Are Leaders born or made?

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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

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Steve’s Answer

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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

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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

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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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Renata’s Answer

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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.

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 Translate
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Fiona’s Answer

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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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Mike’s Answer

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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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Ron’s Answer

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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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Michael Louis’s Answer

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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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Aj’s Answer

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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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Josh’s Answer

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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

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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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Karen’s Answer

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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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Amanda’s Answer

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Hi Timothy,

There's a lot of really great answers on here - I'd say some people are born with natural leadership qualities, but that life experiences truly shape people into leaders. If you consider yourself to be a leader now, ask yourself - what do you define as leadership? and what leadership qualities do you have?

The key to great leaders is being able to appropriately reflect on past experiences and learn from them. If you asked me what leadership meant 5 years ago vs. last year, I'd probably have different advice to give. So keep learning and enhancing your current skill set.

With that said, I'd say the top skills amazing leaders possess are transparency, communication and passion. Amazing leaders are those that make everyone feel valued and excited to work.
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John’s Answer

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It's a little bit of both! Good leaders need to be good listeners, compassionate and understanding. These, and other important traits are within all of us, but it still takes practice to be a good leader. Good leaders always set the right example and 'cast a shadow' for their employees. This means that you must constantly work and enhance your skills by learning from other leaders (good and bad), mentoring programs and finding leaders you admire and study them. There are many books and information to be had on leadership, but you are always going to be a unique individual that will take 'bits and pieces' from other leaders to develop yourself into a GREAT leader of your own. Remember..the golden rule always applies!
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Mary’s Answer

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I believe that leaders are both born and made. Some leaders are natural born leaders who perfect their leadership skills and core competencies through continued education and through life experiences. Some may have high IQ and EI in superb balance and tend to lead with what seems to be great ease. While others may have strengths or higher IQ than EI or vice versa. In all, even natural born leaders have to come to a place of self-awareness and put in the necessary work to develop as a leader.
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.

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Julie’s Answer

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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:

  • Find early career/youth leadership building opportunities outside just school. Civic groups or local business/industry orgs can be a great place to start.
  • Consider asking someone you know to be a good leader and who might have similar personal traits as you to be a mentor. There may be mentor matching programs you can find as well.
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Marianne’s Answer

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I think it's great you are thinking about this. It shows a lot about your character to want to learn more. While some people may inherently have leadership traits and skills, it can certainly be learned. Identify people you believe to be good leaders and think about what you like or look up to for these people.

What makes a good leader to me is someone with courage and integrity. The ability to take a stand when it is not necessarily the most popular but the right thing to do will earn respect and encourage people to join in. Do what you say and say what you mean is a very important component as well. Behavior should match your words. This will garner trust that people can believe that when you say something you will follow through. If you find that perhaps you may have thought wrong than own the mistake clearly and move on.

A good or great leader must be able to take risks and believe what they are doing in order to convey the confidence and willingness to create change. That starts by acting in a way that is consistent with what you say and stand behind decisions and people you believe in. Good luck on your journey!
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Patrick’s Answer

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The best leaders I have worked with all encouraged everyone in their team to be a leader themselves. Given this I believe leading is about attitude and can be developed. Although there are some personality traits that you might be born with anyone can be a great leader.

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!).
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Nancy’s Answer

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Leaders are made - you can develop the skills to become a great leader. There are real life examples of leaders in every field - business, government, non profit - who are are great leaders you can learn from. There are classes, books, articles, podcasts, TV shows, that explain what behaviors make a great leader. It is not always easy - leaders standout, they have to make sacrifices sometimes - but the rewards are giving people meaningful work and making change. I encourage you to try out leadership skills with a small team - your family, a volunteer organization, or a short term work project and see what succeeds and how you can do better.
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Matthew’s Answer

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Great question, Timothy. From my experience leadership is something that comes through experience and opportunity. There is such a large variety of leadership styles but it is important to note that each has a few similarities with the rest: they each take effort and a fundamental understanding of the goal of the team. If you understand what the team's goals are and you are willing to work hard to motivate your team to achieve these goals then you are a leader.
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Tobias’s Answer

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I believe leaders are made. Some people seem more inclined to leadership than others, but leadership is a skill that you can grow and nurture through gaining more experience. Offer to take on more leadership opportunities, like leading a project at work. Ask for feedback as you go and hold a retrospective (what went well, what can you do better) with your team or manager around the project to get feedback and grow. Read books on leadership, books that align with your style and books that don't align with your style because they'll give you a different perspective. Seek mentorship in leadership from anyone you see as a good leader. In my opinion, building empathy for those you lead will make you a better leader. Are you a manager? Learn the process that your team goes through to get their work done. This will shine light on the struggles they have in their day-to-day lives and will give you a better perspective if a deadline is missed or it'll give you all the more reason to praise them if they deliver early.
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Huachun’s Answer

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Leadership is also very importantly a mentality, an attitude, a role. A leader has to put themselves into that role, is willing to devote time, energy, and skills into it. A good leader is someone who can use their ability, their hard work, to organize and help a group of individuals to achieve more than just the simple sum of all. Leadership can be cultivated. Leadership skills can be learned, practiced, and improved. It can be an extension, or a complement to you natural ability.

Do not focus on whether you are "a born leader" or not. There's nothing you can do about it. Instead, focus on serving people, develop leadership skills, listen to others, improve yourself. Remember, you BECOME a leader. You learn to be a good leader.

Good luck!
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Robert’s Answer

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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.   

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Michael’s Answer

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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.

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Raj’s Answer

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Leaders are never born. They are made. It takes time, strife and patience. The best leaders don't even learn from their own mistakes, they analyze the mistakes of others, and then launch themselves to lead others, and assist. Leading is a 360 activity. It is an art the same as riding a bike or using social media. It has to be exercised constantly in order to stay current.
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.

Good luck!
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Michael’s Answer

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While a person my be born with certain attributes that can make a natural leader.
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.
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Doug’s Answer

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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.

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Syed Sermad’s Answer

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I think it is a great question. Some believe that true leaders are born that way—naturally charismatic, influential, and inspiring individuals who are destined to make a mark. But while certain people may be naturally predisposed to leadership, just as they’re naturally predisposed to athleticism or musicality, we believe it’s absolutely possible to cultivate the characteristics and skills necessary to call yourself a leader. As legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once said: “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.”
So whether you were born with the “special sauce” or not, if you want to be a leader you’re going to have to work to develop and refine the characteristics of the greats. Work hard and learn some of the specific traits that are critical for leadership.

I personally believe that through guidance and working towards your Goal / Skill this can be achieved.
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Robert’s Answer

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Wow what a great question! I do think that leaders all possess certain qualities that one would inherently have, but that's not to say that you cannot learn these qualities just like you learn and become better at other skills. For example, I find all true leaders to be empathetic. Empathy is not something that comes all that naturally. So i studied empathy and now instead of having a response that might come more "naturally" to me, I attempt to have a more empathetic response. This quality, like many others, can be learned and does not necessarily have to be inherently possessed. Great question!
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Dan’s Answer

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Great question. Leaders are not born but people may have skills that better acclimate themselves to leadership.
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.
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Randee’s Answer

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I truly believe being a good leader is #1 always leading a team with the utmost integrity. #2 truly caring about the people you are leading and when they know that they will have respect and want to follow you. I am a firm believer that people never leave companies due to the company its usually because they leave their leader . So it's important to clearly develop those leadership skills and also I believe people are born with the drive and determination to be a leader and some rather be followers. Its a little of both in my opinion. Also you have to have the strengths to stand up and firmly do what you believe in difficult situations and have the courage to do it. You can always develop your skills on certain things but have to have the drive and passion to Lead people.
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Ruben’s Answer

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I believe a leader is made. As you grow and meet people, you begin to admire certain traits of those individuals that you see as role models. That is when the aspiration to be like them is born. So you work hard to be a role model yourself. You become humble, approachable, kind, friendly and a good listener. People will take notice of you especially if you follow through on what you say you are going to do. Credibility is an important trait to have. Most important be yourself and never stop learning. Always have an open mind, welcome positive criticism and learn from your mistakes. Remember, you must be able to follow before you can lead...
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Sarah’s Answer

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People can certainly develop skills to be a good manager, but great leadership is not something that you can procure through training in my opinion. I have worked for many people and the great leaders who I aspire to do my best work are those that are charismatic, warm, selfless, have personal drive (motivation), are smart (not necessarily book smart always) and organised. When looking at this list, it's pretty obvious to me that it's the personal characteristics, the values of the person that inspire me.

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.
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Brinda’s Answer

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Great question. I feel it is a combination of the two. Some people do have leader characteristics already but this can also be learnt through leadership training and mentoring. If you have some one that you admire, you should tap into them and ask them to mentor you. Leaders provide guidance, like a coach and also give vision and provide inspiration to do better and greater. Managers are more to do with processes and day to day operations but Leaders give vision.

Brinda recommends the following next steps:

  • If you know someone that you can reach out that you admire, ask them if they could mentor you.
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Denise’s Answer

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Hi Timothy! That is a good and classic question that we have been asked and often ask to. However, throughout the years, I think it is a mix of both. Sorry if this is a cliche answer but it is honestly true to some degree. I think people who want to be leaders are somewhat good at it intrinsically. However, for those who want to be leaders but are not born with this trait or for those who want to be even better leaders, there is definitely room to grow. Whether it is having a good mentor/leader themselves or asking the people who they lead how they can improve, they can adapt and become better leaders (and more importantly people) in the future. It is important to learn how to give and receive constructive feedback. Best of luck!
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Pamela’s Answer

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From my perspective you learn to be a leader. When I started my career there was no way I as going to lead people. But as I grew with the company and took on new challenges I new I wanted more. I enjoyed helping others be successful i their roles and supporting them through their successes. As a result I knew I wanted to be a manager. Little did I know that I made my self to be a leader. This along with good role models, training, peer support and being open to feedback you can learn to be a leader.
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Michael’s Answer

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While a person my be born with certain attributes that can make a natural leader.
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.
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Dinesh’s Answer

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Leaders are those who can influence. And in today's fast changing world, leaders are those who have the vision/passion and can quicky adapt to change and have their teams adapt to change.

That being said, some have natural traits of a leader while others learn on their way.

As a high school student, you should look at where can you lead.. can you lead by organizing an event say.. for a social cause (get your school mates, teaching staff, local administration etc.. together for the task)

My recommendation is to join a training program on leadership skills and then put them to use in your activities at schools.
Sign up for a mentorship program where someone can be your mentor and can guide you

An excellent leader takes the time to communicate with his/her team; listen to what they say and communicate the vision and reason for change.
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Maritza’s Answer

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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.

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Dee’s Answer

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I feel it's both, sometimes leaders are born and it's just natural to be a leader but most of the time leaders are made based on my experience in a manager field. I am a natual born leader and have been from the womb but I have become a better leader by learning and being mentored by strong leaders. At times throughout my life I have chosen to be on the sidelines and not take that leader role until someone encouraged me to take a leader role.
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Sean’s Answer

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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.

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Padmapriya’s Answer

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Hi Timothy,

Great question.

Some people are born leaders. Those who aspire to become leaders can acquire leadership qualities by training themselves.

Social ability, self confidence, assertiveness and boldness are all characteristics of natural born leaders.

Leaders should lead the way, show the way, listen to people, delegate, etc. Some of the other characteristics of good leaders are,

Confidence
Calmness
Communication
Integrity
Honesty
Compassion
Courage
Patience
Open minded
Insightful

Hope this helps.

All the Best!!
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Wesley’s Answer

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Tim, great question. I would say that leaders are both born and made. All great leaders seek feedback to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They also invest in their own development through training, reading and often aligning with a mentor. I do believe however that great leaders have an innate sense of self awareness that help propel them. They have a desire to not only accomplish the goal but empower those around them to be successful in the process.
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Cedric’s Answer

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I know many have great some amazing insights already but I would just add the same burning desire that you have right now to be a leader continue to fuel that fire. Leadership is what you do each and every day. It is how you interact with others always looking for a way to uplift and encourage but more importantly how you serve. The one thing I think I have always valued in leaders is those that did things in a way where they weren't looking to be noticed but instead were working behind the scenes to always put their teams in a position to win.
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BR’s Answer

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No person is a figured head by birth, it just depends on how you make your soup . .!!

True leader understands pain of others and helps to heel. That's your compass to move forward.
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Ken’s Answer

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This is one of the oldest discussions in the world of business leaders. I think its a combination of both. While I do not feel that a person is born with leadership skill I do feel that their up bringing has considerable influence over how they will approach life. The norms and morals that our parents instill in us help to shape. Its all experience and its all relevant. As you grow up and are put in positions to develop leadership you either become better at leadership or you discover that you really would rather be led than lead. hope this helps.
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Kim’s Answer

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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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Kim’s Answer

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Early in my career, my boss once told me, " a true leader leads even when no one is watching." I am a leader in my actions, my work ethic and my willingness to work with my peers to ensure overall success regardless of my role with a team or as an individual contributor.
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
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Jabari’s Answer

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Neither. Both. While some people have "natural" leadership skills, and leadership abilities can be cultivated, true leadership is context- and opportunity-dependent.

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.
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Lucineh’s Answer

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Hello!

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.
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Lana’s Answer

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Leaders are made by working hard and showing an example to other people
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Steve’s Answer

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I don't think anyone is born as a leader but they may have some traits of leadership and just need to explore them. I do think some people are born with a natural desire to lead others and do well at it. Becoming a great leader requires putting yourself out there and taking risks. Leading is a big job that is a big responsibility when you realize others depend on your decisions and direction. I think everyone should give it a shot if you are interested!
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Nick’s Answer

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This is a great question! I do think people are born with leadership traits: courage, mindfulness, compassion for others, and a desire to help. I think those traits are further developed through learning experiences. These could range from taking a class or being the captain of a sports team. The thing about leadership is, it's always evolving. New techniques, ideas, and a changing demographic of workers. Always be willing to learn. You will learn more from the people you lead than anywhere else.
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Chaitra’s Answer

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According to me Leaders are made. Learning from the people around us makes us a better person. Learning from others mistake also will be a learning.
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Jessica’s Answer

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Everyone is a natural born leader, however we all have different strengths and weaknesses. You have to consistently work at it and associate yourself with strong leaders so you can learn from them. I would also highly recommend reading leadership books as well (such as John Maxwell) because you have to personally grow yourself everyday!

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Margaret’s Answer

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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.

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Steve’s Answer

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Hi Timothy,

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.
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Clément’s Answer

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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

clement,


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jesse’s Answer

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Both. Some have that natural instinct to be a leader and some have to earn the skills to become one. As long as you have a great attitude and mindset you can achieve anything you want to in life.

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Richard’s Answer

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Leaders are made not born. Great leaders inspire, motivate, and bring people together. Know your audience and connect with them,
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Samantha’s Answer

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Hi Tim,

Leaders are Made, Not Born. Your ability to negotiate, communicate, influence, and persuade others to do things is absolutely indispensable to everything you accomplish in life.

Sam :)
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Anthony’s Answer

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Leaders are 100% made!
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Jamie’s Answer

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i believe true leaders are motivators to those that work for them. They help when needed and their role is to help develop their team. You need to have the a strong work ethic to be a leader but you must also know how to develop those same skills into your employees.
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Christopher’s Answer

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Hey Tim,
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.
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Chaithanya’s Answer

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In my opinion, it is both. While some are born leaders in that they have the passion and desire to lead from the front. Some others learn from others and the desire to lead sparks on one fine day in their mind after seeing other leaders.

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Jonathan’s Answer

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Excellent question,

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

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Lucineh’s Answer

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Hi there!

Great question. Leaders are definitely made. People can develop skills to become successful leaders.
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Jason’s Answer

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I would have to say it's a little bit of both. There are some unique characteristics that perhaps you can be born with that can aid in leadership but I think the real value is the learning lessons both personally and professionally to develop yourself as a leader.

I've spent 23 years in the wireless industry and I've had the opportunity to work for many different leaders both good and bad.
Working for good leaders gives you a good opportunity to emulate some of the behaviors and how they engage their organization. What inspires individuals are uniquely different but how a great leader can make each individual become a part of the greater good for the business is how you can effectively manage organizations. On the converse side you also have a good opportunity to learn from not so good leaders. What behaviors that those leaders have done that perhaps you found a negative impact to the overall organization. You can learn just as much from bad leaders as it not just impacts you but also your organization around you if you pay attention.

The best advice I would say coming into the workforce would be always focus on your area of performance and what the organizational expectations are. You must first be able to showcase your own ability and essentially be able to master your craft before you can take on additional responsibilities. You will can't take on leading others if you don't "own" your own space. Never lose site of doing your job greater than expected.

Secondly you also have to work on your own personal image within the organization. Being a top performer is one thing but doing it the right way by including your team and those around you to help influence a positive outcome. Are you an "above the line" thinker and can you indirectly influence the culture of an organization positively? If so then the organization can see you of value for the next opportunity.

Lastly I would say exposure is the last piece to seeking leadership opportunities. When your performance is in good shape and you've cast the shadow of your own leader (image) in a positive light then is the opportunity to seek exposure. Finding the exposure is key when and only when performance has been mastered and you have influenced you and your team in a positive light around you. Be selective when looking for those opportunities to gain exposure to leaders within the organization.
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Bernard’s Answer

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Hi Timothy,

Great question. I hope this helps and not too vague. 2 basic things: 1) "You can do anything you put your mind to." ~ Ben Franklin 2) Leadership is how YOU define it.

We all have a sense of intuition and work ability/work ethic. Some more fortunate than others. How bad you want something can take you extremely far. Being is more than just being born with it or hard work. Patience is another key aspect, which many of us are still learning. Me included. Tip to add here...Being a lead here is ALWAYS do the right thing. If you're into podcasts, I recommend How I built This by Guy Raz, which will show you countless examples of leadership and innovation from GREAT companies. Also, specifically, there's one from Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner, "Why you're not a professional athlete." This one I recommend because USA gold medal gymnast, Shawn Johnson tells you the human mind capable of so much more than you think.

As you learn, defining leadership will solely be done by you. How do you want to be a leader? Sure we all aspire for something great, like a CEO, CIO, COO, CFO, but you'll have aspects of your life and personality that will define how and where you want to go in that time frame. Analogy...am I still a player on the team or am I ready to be a coach? You can be a leader just riding the bench and that's ok too. Don't forget that.
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Phillip’s Answer

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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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Martina’s Answer

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People can become leaders through teaching, learning and observation. Leadership is a set of skills that can be learned by training, perception, practice and experience over time. Leadership learning is lifetime activity. Life is work in progress.
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John’s Answer

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The simple answer is made not born (unless you believe in fate). Some leaders seem to be born with natural traits that make them more personable, approachable, motivating, open to new ideas, challenging, etc but those traits are crafted over time based on their life experiences and influences. Others need to hone those skills to find success in leadership in adulthood based on a lack of successful connections and influences in life that lead them to be lacking in those skills when they enter the workforce. Something I have learned is that it's not about how fast you become a leader, but the path you traveled to get there and what value are you bringing to your people in your leadership role that defines the quality of leader you are able to be.

3 key things to remember as you continue to your journey into leadership.
1. Leverage a proximity principle that allows you to learn the leadership traits needed for success from those who are already demonstrating success as a people leader
2. Understand your Brand and constantly get feedback and make corrections to your brand to put you in the right position to succeed
3. Understand the mission and how to be a servant to those you lead.

Good luck!
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Malisa’s Answer

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This question is such a deep topic to dive into. I believe everyone can be a leader - right here, right now, where you are. That said, I can see where their is a case that can be made for a 'natural leader' - the one who stands up when others are silent to get the ball rolling. Part of that is self-confidence or being strong enough to put yourself out there to get things going and define a way. What makes them a leader at that point is accepting feedback and discussion when others want their voices heard. When you can uplift everyone and move them forward you lead. It's not about running over people, dismissing them or breaking them down. It's all about helping pull everyone together and getting them going in the best possible direction. Skills - humility, self awareness to know your own weaknesses, ability to see the good in others and the benefits that they bring to the team, diversity. I hope this gives you a taste. This question is such and amazing thought provoking topic.

Malisa recommends the following next steps:

  • Learn about yourself - what are your top strengths, what are your top weaknesses?
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Marianne’s Answer

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I think it's great you are thinking about this. It shows a lot about your character to want to learn more. While some people may inherently have leadership traits and skills, it can certainly be learned. Identify people you believe to be good leaders and think about what you like or look up to for these people.

What makes a good leader to me is someone with courage and integrity. The ability to take a stand when it is not necessarily the most popular but the right thing to do will earn respect and encourage people to join in. Do what you say and say what you mean is a very important component as well. Behavior should match your words. This will garner trust that people can believe that when you say something you will follow through. If you find that perhaps you may have thought wrong than own the mistake clearly and move on.

A good or great leader must be able to take risks and believe what they are doing in order to convey the confidence and willingness to create change. That starts by acting in a way that is consistent with what you say and stand behind decisions and people you believe in. Good luck on your journey!
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CARLA’s Answer

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Hi Timothy,

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.
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Dylan’s Answer

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Hey Tim!


Great question to ask, one that often comes up in discussion with people in various leadership positions. Some are born with leadership qualities and advance on those skills over time while some are taught through various self/outside development techniques. I think one thing that separates a true leader is the ability to influence others to believe in their course of action regardless of the outcome. It is important for the leader to collaborate with those around them, to gather perspectives, feedback, and create true buy-in on different initiatives. One important thing to remember in leadership, is that not every initiative or goal you have is going to work out and that's OK! Perseverance and development is key! Not only for you, but for those around you. Keep in mind that others may be at a different stage in their development than you and as a leader, it is your job to inspire them to be their best. Those individuals may also need a different type of development in order to bring out those leadership qualities that they seek. Being positive, open minded, & your ability to adapt to different situations will be key in your leadership development. You got this! Good Luck!! :)
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Tabitha’s Answer

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Some people are born with the natural attributes that makes leadership come to them more naturally. However, there are many dimensions to leadership and in order to be a true leader, one must develop themselves. Leaders must be willing to look inward and reflect on all aspects of their personalities as well as develop some emotional intelligence.

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".
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Ken’s Answer

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This is one of the oldest discussions in the world of business leaders. I think its a combination of both. While I do not feel that a person is born with leadership skill I do feel that their up bringing has considerable influence over how they will approach life. The norms and morals that our parents instill in us help to shape. Its all experience and its all relevant. As you grow up and are put in positions to develop leadership you either become better at leadership or you discover that you really would rather be led than lead. hope this helps.
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