Are Leaders Born or Made?

Whether leaders are born or made is a subsidiary, to put it as it is, of the age old nature vs. nurture debate. What takes precedence in the development of human nature? Genetics or environment? Before we take a stance, let’s first define leadership. The term, as it is widely understood, refers to a process whereby one person works with certain others to achieve a specific objective.

Leaders are individuals who have a vision in mind and are willing to passionately pursue it with the help of others. The two key words here are ‘vision’ and ‘passion’. Additionally their persona is such that they can motivate others to work for them by causing them to relate to their cause. Finally they are competent individuals whose brain power is supplemented with intuition and empathy.

Be it a corporation, a military squad or a state, leaders play an important role in fulfillment of objectives by managing complex social groups with tact. It is then imperative to understand what makes a good leader.

If we agree with those who say that leaders are individuals born with a set of innate predispositions, we imply that these dispositions cannot be acquired by others as they run in the genes. This would then mean leaders come from specific bloodlines. History, as it lies behind us today, defies this argument. Additionally, science has proven the profound impact of experience and learning on our personalities. The coward today can be the courageous tomorrow, the greedy the beneficent and the bashful the prominent.

Having said the above, we can also not deny that there exist individuals with an air of charisma around them that others just don’t have. They have a natural ability to attract people to themselves like bees would get attracted to a hive. They might not come from specific blood lines but you can tell they were born with it.

To decide then, we take the Shakespearean approach; “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” As the saying goes, one-third of all leaders are born with innate abilities, the rest either acquire them or accept responsibility based on the circumstances they are put in. The majority of leaders hence are made.

We conclude by saying that with the will, experience and hard work one can improve his leadership skills or become one if he isn’t. Leadership acumen is not always an endowment of Mother Nature.