Are Leaders Born or Made?
It’s an age-old question — are people born leaders? Whatever your personal beliefs, it is clear from observation that leaders come in all shapes, sizes and characteristics. However, leading a company or a team involves more than a natural ability and often requires the person to develop their skills over time.
How Are Leaders Made?
Many people have begun to acknowledge that most leaders are made rather than born. While a natural affinity for leadership is always appreciated, many employees need consistent practice and skill-building resources to become talented leaders.
There may be several reasons to support the idea that leaders are made, but we’ve come up with the top reasons you should promote the support and development of leadership in your organization. Here are five reasons why leaders are made, not born.
Reason One: Leaders Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Not all leaders look the same or follow a specific type. The most influential leaders in the world all have different strengths and characteristics that make them stand out from each other and help them in their specific industries. From various personality types to particular skills and knowledge, leaders understand how to influence the people around them, though their kind of influence varies from company to company.
Many still believe that extroverts make the best leaders. However, many introverts have the capacity for excellent leadership in a business. Some people can be administrative, handle small details and remember important information well. Others enjoy the strategic side of leadership, checking in with their team members and encouraging them to pursue unique opportunities or further the company’s mission.
Whether a leader is strategic, administrative or relational, their personal development can impact their effectiveness. While your natural upbringing could influence how you lead, development and practice strengthen your leadership abilities and style.
Reason Two: Life and Work Experience Informs Leadership
Often, a person’s life and work experiences inform how well they will succeed as a leader. It may positively affect their capability as a leader if they’ve gone through challenging personal or work circumstances. Learning throughout life is critical when deciding to lead others. Walking through life’s challenges can help you learn to make good decisions and help others make even better ones.
You may also become a good leader by watching famous or impactful leaders. Watch how they’ve overcome adversity and challenges and gather valuable insight you can impart to your team. The best leaders have learned from life and matured emotionally and intellectually. They recognize that seeking new experiences can influence their skills and impact the company.
Reason Three: Leaders Need Practice and Coaching
Another reason leaders are made is that many leaders are developed through consistent practice and dedicated coaching. When practicing good leadership, many think back to their first job or experience managing a team.
Great leaders will learn through every experience they have, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Their previous jobs and leadership opportunities afford them the knowledge they need to succeed elsewhere.
Leadership is also made better by learning and practicing new knowledge and skills while having the discipline to continue practicing until a breakthrough occurs. The best leaders are self-aware of their current skills and the process needed to improve them. Driven leaders understand their limits and work hard to push past those boundaries and embrace challenging leadership positions.
Leaders also depend on dedicated coaching throughout their life to be successful. These coaches could be anyone from teachers, mentors, supervisors or trainers who have helped you learn what you know today. In many cases, leaders are developed through the encouragement and coaching of others rather than the natural abilities of a select few. A good leadership teacher understands how to coach their student or trainee into leading well.
The quality of these teachers is just as important. They should understand that it can be challenging for new leaders to listen to feedback or take criticism, and they can encourage others to embrace humility and practice receiving constructive criticism. By finding a coach you trust, anyone can develop leadership skills and use them to succeed.
Reason Four: Leadership Needs Purpose and Context
A lot of leaders need a purpose for their leadership skills to thrive. Others may specifically succeed in contexts or industries where they feel most knowledgeable and comfortable.
Understanding why you want to lead will also determine how successful the outcome is. Good leaders want to accomplish a goal or mission, while others may enjoy the attention or seek to control others. That is why leadership is more than a natural desire or urge to lead.
Made leaders understand the balance between their mission and the role they have to play in that goal. They support the company and staff by helping them achieve their goals and spread their values to customers and clients. And, just as leaders need a purpose to become successful, some also need specific environments to thrive. An ideal situation is one where a leader feels suited to their current environment and has the knowledge and skills to achieve their mission.
Reason Five: Leaders Can Possess Empathy
Some people operate under the assumption that all good leaders are great public speakers, have charismatic personalities and are extremely outgoing. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, and it is often not. While extroverts may possess a talent for engaging with others, introverts can lead as easily as any other person. Whether introverted or extroverted, many leaders have had to develop their emotional intelligence over time, making the case that leaders are made and not born.
Emotionally intelligent people can use their feelings to motivate themselves and others. They can understand their team members’ feelings and plan for tasks and skills accordingly. Emotional intelligence also allows leaders to form intentional bonds with other people, connecting on a level that other leaders may not.
While high intelligence is often linked with great leaders, many overlook emotional intelligence as a driving factor for excellent leadership. By understanding the thoughts and feelings of your team members, you can learn to solve conflicts better or raise motivation among staff. You will also be able to act professionally in social settings while reading the room for different emotions.
Showing empathy in the workplace may look like this:
- Giving a voice: Allow team members to voice their opinions, questions or feedback on projects and goals.
- Supporting struggles: Show empathy for others’ struggles and compassion by understanding their situation.
- Praising success: Praise your team’s success by directly calling attention to their skills and attributes.
- Settling disagreements: Settle disagreements by showing compassion to both sides of the argument and ensuring each person has felt heard.
These and other displays of empathy are all skills leaders develop with time.
Create Talented Leaders With Help From Exude Human Capital
Exude is a consulting firm that has assisted businesses in implementing leadership skills and employee development. Our company wants to help you improve your employees’ and customers’ experiences and can give you excellent advice on creating talented leaders to further the mission of your business. Contact us today to speak to an Exude representative.