Are Leaders Born or Made?
by Yasmine Moulin
Are leaders born or made? Is this a nature vs. nurture question? Some have a natural talent for understanding people, being empathetic, drawing out the best in people, and inspiring themselves and others to greatness. Some signs of a good leader is when they show humility, acknowledge they do not have all the knowledge, answers or the skills to be a great leader, and are willing to learn from others, and continually adapting and growing in becoming a better leader. Unfortunately, some born leaders could be natural leaders; however they do not or will not have the opportunity, environment, or support to nurture and apply those skills.
Can leaders be educated? Yes. However, as I have seen from personal experience while maneuvering through the business world, whether you are a born or nurtured leader, it is not enough to have been born or taught leadership skills. Leadership skills need to be utilized, continuously practiced, adjusted, and applied.
As Yukl (2013) stated,
The importance from learning from experience on the job is now widely acknowledged, and researches are now mapping the relationships between specific experiences and specific leadership competencies. In general, more development occurs for mangers who experience challenges that require adaption to new situations and provide opportunity to learn and deal with a variety of different types of problems and hardships. (p. 401)
Although there are many formal training leadership programs, including the Royal Roads University Master of Arts Leadership program that I obtained, in my personal experience, much of the leadership skills such as, honesty, communication and delegation skills, a sense of humour, a commitment to yourself and others, intuition, creativity, a positive attitude, and the ability to inspire others are learned from experience (Yukl, 2013). A great leader does not happen overnight. Leading yourself first, personal development on the skills mentioned above, time, experience, and a commitment to being a positive and inspiring leader is needed.
As Baldwin and Linnea (2010) stated, there is a “leader…in every chair” (p. 142). We can be a good leader, whatever position we hold in a company, if we have the right qualities and traits, whether we were born with those traits or learned them. What we do need is to continuously build on those traits, and apply them. Are leaders born? I propose yes. Can leaders be educated? I propose yes.
Baldwin, C. & Linnea, A. (2010). The circle way: A leader in every chair. San Francisco: CA. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Yukl, G. A. (2013). Leadership in organizations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yasmine Moulin is owner of Yasmine Moulin Consulting, providing professional development, executive leadership programs, social media branding and marketing, and business management consulting services. Yasmine has been in the continuing professional education field for financial professionals and business leaders for many years. She has successfully planned and developed executive education and professional development programs for VPs, CEOs, CFOs, and senior leaders. Yasmine was an early adopter of social media & saw the power it has to build relationships, brand awareness & authentic engagement with clients & potential new clients. This lead her to being a social media consultant and strategist. Previously, Yasmine was in the English as a Second Language (ESL) industry including being an ESL teacher and English & French tutor. Yasmine holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Combining executive, management, business & leadership experience along with education & professional development, her focus & passion is in helping clients & their teams obtain their professional & personal goals. Yasmine currently lives in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.