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Are Leaders Born or Made? Since we are all born, the best answer to this question is: leaders are born and then made! however, this answer doesn’t represent the essence of the question. A good leader is in a constant growth mode, he never repeats the same day twice! He strives to seek new experiences and he’s in a constant self-introspection mode, hence he takes in information from a multitude of sources, including but not limited to his own interpretation of life experiences, observations, books, website, informal training from an excellent coach and/or mentor as well as from more formal training that is given in an academic setting.
At birth, we are all born with genetic baggage, for a select few the genetic predispositions for the leadership qualities are more favourable toward leadership qualities. For the majority, these genetic predispositions are not as prominent within their genetic baggage, but nonetheless, these qualities are there. Perhaps, for the others that don’t have any predisposition being a leader will never be part of their being!
After we are born for the first few years of our lives we are in constant interaction with others, some to which we attach real and sustained admiration and others where this admiration is punctual. From those interactions we refine our values and our natural behaviours are reinforced positively, which would increase the frequency of the behaviours or negatively which would diminish the frequency of the behaviours. I’m sure that we can appreciate that these interactions and the possibilities of their outcomes are so complex that this topic would require it own book. But for the purpose of this article we will let your objective imagination run wild and juggle with the different scenarios.
What’s important to realize!
Is that whatever was genetically given to us at birth, will, by our social interactions be reinforced in a manner that the behavioural patterns will be more or less in line with those of a leader. Where the complexity comes in, is that some those that had a strong predisposition towards leadership qualities could now be in a position that would render them less likely to actually express those behaviours because of the social conditioning. So, if the answer to the question “Are Leaders Born or Made” is that we are born, then that would mean that our social interactions would have the “power” to condition us otherwise? Logically, if this is the case, then we could also, by the means of our social interactions, be morphed into a great leader!
Lastly, depending on the combination of both our genetic and our socially conditioned behaviours we will be more or less inclined to have the proper leadership abilities in a given context. In fact, in my professional and personal life I have had the luxury of meeting and interacting with amazing leaders. For a select few, I have seen them in various contexts, where I have observed in those situations, that their leadership qualities didn’t have the same intensity within the various situations and in some cases they really expressed more follower qualities.
If leaders were born would we have the ability to be a leader in every situation? If we restrict the definition of a leader to only those who express leadership behaviours in all situations within their lives, would we have many leaders?
The century old question “Are leaders Born or Made” is so fundamental that many, if not all, leadership theories have emerged from their hypothesis on this very question.