A Gallup study revealed that while only 10% of the population are born with inherent leadership abilities, 20% have enough potential to become exceptional leaders under proper instruction and support.
However, this study does not discount the role of nature in leadership qualities; rather, it highlights the importance of both elements in producing exemplary leaders.
The ‘nature’ part of this debate refers to a leader’s inherent traits and characteristics, such as charisma and confidence. These are qualities that people are typically born with or at least develop very early in life.
The ‘nurture’ element is based on environmental factors like education and experience. It refers to the leadership skills learned and developed over time, often through training or mentorship. Such traits include communication, decision-making, and problem-solving.
So, the age-old question rages on: Are leaders born or made? Well, the answer is not so black and white. While certain traits of successful leadership may come naturally to some individuals, most are honed from experience.
Let’s take a closer look at the debate.
Differences Between Born Leaders And Made Leaders
Born leaders are those who seem to have a natural tendency towards leadership. These people often display strong confidence, charisma, and interpersonal skills early in life. They have an innate ability to inspire and motivate others around them. Born leaders tend to understand the importance of delegation and collaboration, allowing them to achieve goals more quickly than their peers.
On the other hand, made leaders may not have had the same natural leadership qualities as born leaders. They are often willing to learn and grow in their environment and take the initiative when necessary.
Made leaders tend to be more analytical and methodical in their approach; they take time to research and plan before carrying out their actions. They also tend to be focused and determined in their approach, which can help them achieve their goals successfully.
Are Leaders Born Or Made: What Does Science Say About It?
Scientists worldwide have been trying to answer the burning question: are leaders born or made? In 2016, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy hosted a lively debate between two sides of their Academic Fellows Program.
Both teams analyzed twin studies to agree on whether leadership traits are innate or learned. The side which argued that leaders were born demonstrated examples such as astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly. At the same time, the opposing team pointed out that certain leadership principles like helping others, integrity, and vision for future success cannot be attributed to genetics alone. Ultimately both groups concluded it involves some combination of nature (genetics) and nurture (environment).
If the University of Illinois research is to be believed, leadership isn’t an exclusive club reserved for only a few. Rather, it’s something that everyone can obtain if they’re willing to put in the effort. By analyzing what scientists have said and pinpointing certain traits commonly associated with successful leaders, we aim to uncover ways by which you can become as effective and respected a leader as any.
5 Effective Leadership Skills And How To Develop Them
Most experts agree that one must continually work on honing their leadership skills to become an exceptional leader. To do so, they should focus on the following characteristics:
Develop Emotional Intelligence
In today’s world, leadership is often associated with extroverts and their natural flair for public speaking. However, charisma alone does not determine a person’s effectiveness as a leader; emotional intelligence should also be considered. This proves that both introverted and extroverted individuals alike can lead effectively in every situation.
Leaders with emotional intelligence have a unique ability to leverage feelings for strategic planning and cultivating strong relationships. Through empathy, they can recognize the emotions of those around them, enabling them to effectively mediate disputes, boost morale and navigate any social setting gracefully.
How To Develop Emotional Intelligence?
- Praise the good work of those around you.
- Encourage people to speak up.
- Resolve disputes with understanding and kindness
- Offer support in times of need.
Take Up Responsibility
Harry S. Truman famously reminded himself, and his presidency of the importance of taking ultimate responsibility with a “The Buck Stops Here” sign on his desk. This idea is echoed by Jocko Willink’s book, Extreme Ownership; true leaders take ownership of everything their team does, including failure when it happens. It takes courage to do this, but being an example encourages everyone else in your organization to follow suit. As Willink puts it, “leadership is contagious”!
How To Accept Responsibility?
- Take the initiative to proactively solve issues without being asked.
- Don’t blame others.
- Own up to your mistakes.
- Master punctuality.
- Exceed expectations and do more than what you’re required to do.
- Don’t hesitate to apologize when necessary.
Despite the challenges that come with change, great leaders recognize it as an opportunity to broaden their horizons and foster a more positive outlook. They know how to motivate others in difficult times by embracing transformation rather than seeing it as something negative or invincible. As such, they can be depended on for steady direction during turbulent transition periods across all industries.
A key element of successful leadership is being flexible and adaptive, particularly in an ever-changing environment. Being open to learning new things grants a leader insight into potential shifts that could occur later down the road, enabling them to be prepared for any challenges they may face along their journey.
Take Elon Musk’s work with SpaceX as an example. Despite constant developments and discoveries within his field of space exploration, he has been able to stay focused on achieving his original vision while still being agile enough to react fluidly when necessary. Embracing failure rather than avoiding it brings about valuable lessons that are invaluable for continued success moving forward.
How To Embrace Change?
- Stay focused on your goals.
- Don’t be overwhelmed by change; rather, face them with determination and courage.
- Learn to be calm when changes happen.
- Take a step back and invest some time in understanding why the change is happening.
The most successful leaders remain voracious learners, passionate about discovering more than what their job requires. From staying abreast of current events to reading widely on topics outside their area of expertise—such as Bill Gates, who reads an entire newsweekly from cover to cover each night– these individuals use curiosity and knowledge to keep themselves informed and upskilled. In this manner, they’re able to stretch beyond the limits that constrict traditional thinking, enabling them to take strides toward achieving success in life.
Jan Koum is a prime example of the power of proactively honing one’s skills. Despite being born into poverty in Ukraine and facing added hardship when he moved to the United States at just 16 years old, his hunger for knowledge never waned.
He taught himself computer programming within just two short years following immigration. He also joined a hacking group where every step took him closer to building WhatsApp, which eventually led to him having an estimated personal net worth of nearly $10 billion. His story paints an inspiring portrait that highlights both the potential financial reward from learning and, even more profoundly so, how invaluable it can be for our quality life experiences too.
How To Learn Constantly?
- Be open-minded.
- Gain insights into other industries by asking questions to industry experts.
- Make reader a part of your daily schedule.
- Read newspapers, books, magazines, and articles on multiple subjects.
Great leaders can motivate and inspire people to achieve their goals. Visionary executives like Elon Musk understand that ordinary feats can become extraordinary if a shared vision is present. With his infectious enthusiasm, he has encouraged his employees for years by encouraging space exploration with an ambitious goal- having one million inhabitants on Mars by 2050! His ambition serves as motivation for others. Truly great leadership enables everyone to see what’s possible despite seeming impossible at times.
How To Motivate Others?
- Have a clear vision and share it with others.
- Be optimistic.
- Inspire others to reach their fullest potential and become the best versions of themselves.
- Instead of fixating on the negative, focus on the positive and brighter things in life.
Leadership isn’t as much about innate talent or charisma as it is diligent practice. Warren G Bennis highlights this when he states that “Leaders are made, not born.” Hard work is essential if you want to become a successful leader. Crafting your leadership skills requires effort and dedication; no one gets there instantly!
So, are leaders born or made? Well, the answer is both, but ultimately the onus is on the individual to deploy their innate talents and apply the necessary effort required to succeed. By focusing on honing skills such as learning constantly, embracing changes, and motivating others, leaders can ensure that they are equipped with invaluable tools for continued success moving forward.
Why do we say leaders are made, not born?
Most people say leaders are made, not born, because becoming an effective leader isn’t just about having the right abilities or traits; it’s also heavily influenced by hard work and dedication. With enough tenacity, anyone can hone their leadership skills to become a successful leader regardless of natural talent.
Is leadership natural or learned?
Leadership is an attribute that has been studied for centuries, and opinions will likely continue to be divided as to whether it’s innate or learned. Researchers point out that while some are born with certain qualities that lend themselves to exercising authority and managing people, true leadership doesn’t simply lie in a single characteristic.
Rather, it requires a mix of strong interpersonal skills, experience, confidence, and the ability to persuade. As such, there are many ways individuals can work on growing their leadership ability regardless of whether they feel like ‘natural’ leaders or not.
Can anyone become a leader?
Yes, anyone can become a leader. Leadership is achievable with the correct attitude, dedication, and personal investment. It’s not only about natural gifts; it requires continual effort to acquire invaluable traits such as self-awareness, communication skills, and problem-solving aptitude- all integral facets of a successful leader’s repertoire.
What are the signs of a born leader?
The signs of a born leader include remarkable abilities to communicate, motivate and problem-solve. They have the ambition and creativity to push boundaries, coupled with intelligence that allows them to identify issues quickly in any situation. Plus, they draw on experience to help those around them find success, ensuring everyone around them reaches for a brighter future.
What are born leaders examples?
If we are to name some great born leaders examples, these include the late Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and George C. Marshall.