Are leaders born or developed? This is a question that I have been giving some thought to lately, and I have heard some interesting answers for both sides of the argument. When you look back through history there are a great deal of inspirational leaders, each with their own story as to how they came to be in a position of leadership.
Through my own experiences over the past twenty-five years I have come to the conclusion that some leaders are in fact born, and others develop into positions of leadership over time. There are a small number of people for whom leadership would appear to be an innate ability, the sorts of people that have a natural charisma and the power to really connect with and inspire others. However, that’s not to say that they don’t have to work on developing their skills, only that their own natural ability makes the process a whole lot easier.
Then there are those leaders who grow into the role through time and experience, they have a passion and desire married to a great work ethic and develop gradually. They decide to embrace leadership, they become self-aware of their own abilities and work on improving them. What’s more, as I have witnessed myself, they often have a mentor who helps coach them, someone who shares their own wisdom and experiences in order to help guide them along the path.
Throughout my journey I have continually taken inspiration from a number of great leaders, the likes of the late Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and the Dali Lama. To me these people are not just great leaders, but they are great visionaries. In my opinion one of the key components of leadership is the ability to have a vision, and then to be able to inspire others to not only see your vision, but to want to be a part of the journey.
It was John Maxwell that said ‘achieving a dream is more than just what you accomplish, it’s about the kind of leader you become during the process’. So ask yourself this, are you inspiring others to follow you through your actions and words? If not then now is the time to take a step back and evaluate what you are doing, become more self-aware of your own skills and ability and work on developing into the leader that you want to be.