The question “are leaders born or made?” is one of the popular debates in analyzing leaders and leadership ability. But, the answer can be different from person to person. This article discusses about this popular debate and I will share what I believe on this topic.
Are Leaders Born or Made?
Successful leaders possess traits such as motivating people and getting the work done by making them excited. They even accept responsibilities. Leaders know how to influence others (bluesteps, n.d.). Are leaders born or made? This is a popular debate for decades where researchers and professionals study and conduct research. Some people believe that leaders are born. These born leaders own leadership traits such as being influential and inspiring naturally. However, others believe that leaders can be made by proper education, training, and skill development (Arak, n.d.). I believe that leaders can be made while the inborn qualities of leaders help to make a great leader. But, my argument is that leaders can be made.
Leaders can be made
The main argument here is that leadership is a skill. Therefore, people can learn leadership skills same as other skills. Leaders can be made through training and by learning the necessary skills (Muse, 2022). However, all leaders or even all great leaders are not identical. They lead in different styles.
Leadership styles can be different from leader to leader. However, all leaders have a goal to achieve. They use their skills, behaviour, and traits to achieve these goals. Unfortunately, most business organizations do not understand that they can make leaders by giving them the necessary skills training (Muse, 2022). On the other hand, for any leader, it is important to do the right thing regardless of their leadership style. To choose the right thing at the right time, they need skills. These skills may range from courage to self-awareness. However, finally, this is a skill that every leader should be practiced although their leadership styles are different (Carter, 2019).
According to Baker (2021), most experts agree with the fact that exceptional leaders spend time developing their skills. Therefore, characteristics such as accepting responsibility, constant learning, the ability to inspire others to action, adapting to changes, and empathy should be the focus of a leader to improve their leadership skills (Baker, 2021).
Inborn qualities of leaders
While I support the fact that leaders can be made, it is important to understand that there are some inborn qualities of people that help them to shape their skills to be great leaders. Some researchers have researched finding the connection between leadership and personality traits. In research done by Johnson et al (1998), 247 adult twin pairs were included in a large behaviour genetic investigation.
The purpose of this research included examining the heritability of leadership due to two important reasons. One was to find an answer to the question of whether leaders are born or made (Johnson et al., 1998). Another feature was to identify a component of environmental variance. The results were generalizable. It showed the contribution of both genetic and environmental factors toward leadership styles (Johnson et al., 1998). As such, we cannot conclude that leaders are just born. However, their genetic factors affect their leadership qualities.
Although there is no fixed or clear answer to the question, ‘’Are Leaders Born or Made?’’, it is obvious that leaders can be made. Leadership styles can be different from leader to leader. However, they need specific skills to lead their team towards achieving a goal. These specific skills can be trained and hence leaders can be made. However, we cannot ignore the impact of genetic or born qualities of a person that can affect leadership styles. With proper training, even such traits that affect negatively a leadership style of a person can be changed.
Arak, J. (n.d.). Real Talk: Are Leaders Born or Made?. TheMuse. https://www.themuse.com/advice/real-talk-are-leaders-born-or-made
Baker, C. (2021). Are Leaders Born or Made?. Leaders. https://leaders.com/articles/leadership/are-leaders-born-or-made/
BlueSteps . (n.d.). What Makes a Great Leader? 12 Key Elements of Leadership Success. https://www.bluesteps.com/blog/what-makes-great-leader-12-key-elements-leadership-success
Carter, K. (2019). 5 Reasons Why Leaders are Made not Born. HR Zone. https://www.hrzone.com/community/blogs/engage-in-learning/5-reasons-why-leaders-are-made-not-born
Johnson, A. M., Vernon, P. A., McCarthy, J. M., Molson, M., Harris, J. A., & Jang, K. L. (1998). Nature vs nurture: Are leaders born or made? A behavior genetic investigation of leadership style. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 1(4), 216-223. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/twin-research-and-human-genetics/article/nature-vs-nurture-are-leaders-born-or-made-a-behavior-genetic-investigation-of-leadership-style/05E47835FD7D5800ACE58BB27017A084
Muse, T. (2022). Are leaders born or made?. HRD Connect. https://www.hrdconnect.com/2022/02/08/how-to-utilise-ai-recruiting-and-human-intelligence-to-build-a-more-diverse-workforce/
Disclaimer: This post was created using a paper written as part of the MBA program.
Also read: Leadership Theories and Style