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Leadership Skills - Educated or Naturally Born With it

Oct 9, 2007
Is there such a thing as a natural born leader? That's debatable. He/she is a "born leader". Haven't we all heard this statement made at various times? In the realm of royalty this appears to be the theory. In the realm of reality does this hold true or are leaders developed?

A new parent or grandparent gazing at their newborn family member is sure to see greatness. The truth be told there is no agenda or plan attached. We are born with character traits and potential into which skills, experience and environment play crucial elements. After all Mozart, Monet, Elvis, Picasso and Hemingway were not born musicians and artists but with the creative potential to develop into the exceptional artists they became.

Some people have the intelligence and personality to be a good or great leader but lack the ability and/or drive to capitalize on their aptitude. History shows us that even though some are born into leadership roles this does not always make for good leaders.

Leadership is a process of influencing others. Charisma is often described as the ability to charm of influence people and is key to leadership. It is a trait. With charisma you have the ability to attract attention and inspire confidence. You either have it or you don't. It is not available at the convenience store. It must be combined with other traits and abilities to make a good leader.

Genetics plays a part .You may not be born to be a leader any more than to be a farmer, doctor or astronaut. Most people are not cut out to be leaders. They dislike speaking out, making changes, or conflict, all obstacles that leaders must meet.

Can leadership be taught?

West Point is a prime example of a leadership-training institute. West Point does not turn young men and women into leaders. West Point turns out leaders after providing them with the tools to develop the leader within. It doesn't happen overnight, but it happens. Students who go to West Point see the potential officer inside themselves already. Those who go into training for high-end careers already have the traits of a leader: drive, ambition, a willingness to sacrifice for goals.

Universities teach leadership, private industry buys leadership programs, public schools teach and provide leadership opportunities to our youth. A lot of time, talent and money is spent on teaching leadership. Society has invested heavily in leadership training. It may not be possible to teach people to become great leaders but you can give them the tools to improve the leadership skills they possess. It is up to the individual to add the necessary ingredients such as determination, communication, influence and vision to lead effectively.

It well may be that a blending of hardwired character traits you are born with and develop along with skills and experience combine to create successful leaders.

However, leaders do come forth naturally. Watch the children on a playground. One will come forward with the idea of what game to play or activity to do and the others will follow. Life requires leadership, someone must make the decisions and others in turn will follow. If not we would all be standing one by one in solitude and our very existence would be lost.
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