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Are great leaders born or made?

Are people born leaders, or is it a learned behavior? We take a look at leadership from both angles to find the answer.

An age-old question

One age-old question in any given professional industry is whether great leaders are simply born that way or if they’re made to become that way. No matter your personal opinion, you can find definitive answers supporting both concepts. But perhaps the answer to whether leaders are born or made isn’t as simple as a true/false statement. Truly great leaders are both born that way and made that way. However, it isn’t always an equal division between the two essential parts, and it’s unique to each leader or potential leader.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”In order for a leader to be born that way, there must be something in his or her very essence or personality that propels them toward action and encourages them toward a positive, productive change.”[/ba-pullquote]In order for a leader to be born that way, there must be something in his or her very essence or personality that propels them toward action and encourages them toward a positive, productive change. As a person grows and matures, the natural instincts of a leader—gathering people in support of a cause or idea, personal confidence, knowing when to speak his mind versus when to bite his tongue—begins to make an appearance.

For some, the majority of leadership skills are developed through a natural progression based on personality, interests, and natural skills. It doesn’t matter how small that natural leadership kernel is in a person. As long as it’s in there, that person has the potential to become a great leader. But that’s not all it takes.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”For some, it may come down to trial and error. For others, it’s more trial and less error.”[/ba-pullquote]In order to best complement someone’s natural propensity to be a great leader, one needs to be made a great leader. This can be accomplished through education and experience. For some, it may come down to trial and error. For others, it’s more trial and less error. Either way, both experiences make each person a greater leader than they could’ve been without those experiences. For those will a smaller natural instinct for leadership, this portion is the most important. It can take years to build up the knowledge and experience-base to become a great leader, but that’s the way it should be—it takes patience, practice, and perseverance.

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Leaders born and made

The good news about great leaders being both born and made is that nearly everyone has that potential. Even just the desire to be a great leader is enough, as that is a part of your internal desires, placing you in the category of being born a leader or the potential to be a great leader, at least. With the simple desire or yearning, you can then devote yourself to bettering yourself and your leadership skills through workshops, positions at varying levels with any given company, and then trying your own hand at leadership. Only through practice and a willingness to acknowledge your weaknesses and improve upon them will make you a great leader.

A great leader is both born and made. Both parts are essential to a true leader. You may be numbered among those who find leadership easy, natural, and comfortable without much effort. Even if you do, you cannot progress to your full leadership potential without pushing yourself, your knowledge, and your professional limits. Most people have the ability to become great leaders. Few, however, have the discipline, dedication, and self-honesty to make it happen at its highest level.

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]”Once you do that, you can make a positive difference in your life, the lives of those around you, your professional industry, and in your company.”[/ba-pullquote]You may not feel like a great leader today, but take a step forward and become a greater leader than you were the day before. Only then can you combine your natural instinct and desire for leadership with your hard work and determination. Once you do that, you can make a positive difference in your life, the lives of those around you, your professional industry, and in your company.

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Written By

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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