ARE LEADERS BORN OR MADE?


ARE LEADERS BORN OR MADE?
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A leader is a person in charge of others or a process. It refers to a person who leads or commands a group, organization or country. Leadership therefore refers to the process of directing or influencing the behavior of others. Leadership entails the ability to help people achieve things they don’t think are possible. It also involves exercising of influence over others on behalf of the leader’s purposes, aims or goals. Now, based on who these leaders area, the unique qualities they possess, and how they live their lives post the question whether everything about them is inheritable or just acquired from the environment.

Leaders are born not made. Great Man Theory and Trait theories emphasize on genetic characteristics. These two theories believe that people acquire certain qualities and traits from their relatives that suits them well to the leadership positions. Just like a musician would be born with sweet musical voice, a leader can also be born with a mazing qualities. These two theories have proven to be relevant since many leaders we have today especially politicians have a strong leadership background. A good example is the current president of Kenya.

Leaders are born not made. There are unique inborn features that pushes one to lead the rest irrespective of the challenges the leadership role may be associated with. There is a big difference between learning a skill and mastering it. Individuals born with unique skills excel naturally in their areas of interest as compared to those who have acquired the skills via learning.

On the other hand we can argue that leaders are made not born. If leaders were solely born, then what would be the essence in studying leadership skills? Surely there would be no such programs as leadership Programme. Therefore the sole reason why people learn leadership skills is for them to become leaders. Therefore leadership has nothing to do with acquiring traits because people learn to become leaders.

Behavioral theories believe that people can become leaders by being taught, by learning and via observation. It is true that leadership can be learned by training, perception, practice and experience over time. Learning leadership is a lifetime activity. Usually good leaders always seek out for development opportunities that is bound to help them learn new skills. There is no way this can be born.

If leadership is primarily about nature, then researchers could plot out the right mix of communication skills, intellect, strategic thinking, and exact spot on the chart between introversion and extroversion to identify the next “great man” or “great woman.” But we don’t do that because we all have seen effective leaders that are very different from each other. Effective leaders have different personalities and skills. While all great leaders influence people with effectiveness, how they influence people varies greatly.

Some great leaders are extroverts, while others are introverts. Some great leaders are administrative and obsessed with maximizing value through managing details, while others are more strategic and maximize value by leveraging people toward great opportunities.

The characteristics given at birth impact the type of leader someone is, whether relational, strategic, or administrative. But it is the development of a leader that impacts his or her effectiveness. While nature impacts how one leads, nurture impacts the effectiveness of one’s leadership.

If leadership is primarily about nature, then researchers could plot out the right mix of communication skills, intellect, strategic thinking, and exact spot on the chart between introversion and extroversion to identify the next “great man” or “great woman.” But we don’t do that because we all have seen effective leaders that are very different from each other. Effective leaders have different personalities and skills. While all great leaders influence people with effectiveness, how they influence people varies greatly.

Some great leaders are extroverts, while others are introverts. Some great leaders are administrative and obsessed with maximizing value through managing details, while others are more strategic and maximize value by leveraging people toward great opportunities.

The characteristics given at birth impact the type of leader someone is, whether relational, strategic, or administrative. But it is the development of a leader that impacts his or her effectiveness. While nature impacts how one leads, nurture impacts the effectiveness of one’s leadership.

Most leaders receive too much credit for the good things that take place during their tenure and too much blame for the bad. A leader’s qualities surely impact the effectiveness of his or her tenure, but so does the context of leadership and the people within the context. Leaders lead within a specific context, and the context impacts the perceived effectiveness of their leadership. And a great leader is not a great leader alone. Leaders who are recognized for “great leadership” are always surrounded by teams of competent and committed people.

In conclusion, leaders are both born and made. There are categories of leaders with traits only unique to their ancestral lineage. On the other hand, leaders can be born yes but a good leader has to be nurtured to become great.
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