8.09.2007

Unmade Leader: Leaders are born, not made!

It has come time to engage this reading audience in a polarizing of opinions. Time and time again I read that leaders are made, not born. This is true only to a certain extent. Here's why...

1. Everyone was born with the capacity for leadership.

2. It is true that a number of characteristics and skill sets of leaders fit in the category of "learned" or "made."

3. However, the most important traits of individuals that demonstrate effective leadership (what we call Expert Leaders) are those they were naturally born with.

4. The PRIMARY REASON why I believe and why I teach to my thousands of audience members, every day and every month and every year, that leaders are born and not made is because I believe that every single individual, no matter position, education, disability, ability or talent came into this world with the ingredients necessary to effectively and persuasively have a positive influence on the situations and people around them (my CORE definition of leadership).

5. Because I believe number four to be true, I believe the BIG characteristics that result in Expert Leadership, those elements that literally turn a leader's ability to positively influence others on or off, are the characteristics we all possess naturally.

6. Therefore, any human being who wishes to become an Expert Leader need firstly not to seek training or learning or development to get there. They simply must recognize, tap into, harness and use the natural abilities with which they were born.

7. Then from there, they must learn the smaller, yet sometimes very important, skills, behaviors and systems that are required of them for their particular leadership role or roles.

8. Why do I believe this to be true? That Expert Leaders are born and not made? Because time and time again I have watched, coached or been led by leaders who have professionalism, they know how to coach a situation, they have critical thinking skills, they possess charisma, they can hold a conversation with strangers, or they can command the attention of an audience of 5 or 5,000. But they STILL ARE NOT FULLY realizing the potential of their Expert Leadership because they have forgotten to develop or diminished the importance of those traits with which they have had from birth.

The Natural Born Leader Traits (We call them LeaderSwitches)

Trustworthiness
Energy
Curiosity
Awe
Attraction
Decisiveness
Authenticity

9. So, I am not saying that individuals either were born with the ability to lead others or they weren't (which is what most people think of when they think of the concept of "leaders are born and not made.)

10. What I am asking you to comment back on (and to forward this post to at least 3 friends/peers/family members/etc. and ask them to comment back on) is that the reason why we teach that leaders are born and not made is because we want to reinforce in others that if you want to grow your influence and/or have a more positive influence on those around you, it is not PRIMARILY a matter of learning new skills or taking new classes. It is PRIMARILY a matter of simply acting upon and having your behavior directed by talents and knowledge and basic human instincts that have been a part of you since you were you. Those are the doors that will get you into the rooms you wish to walk around in. Once you are in the room, you can learn what you must to capitalize on that experience.

PLEASE COMMENT BACK WITH YOUR FEEDBACK, COMMENTS, QUESTIONS. We are 60% of the way through our book called "The Unmade Leader" and your feedback will prove to be very insightful and helpful during this research phase of the authorship! Thanks in advance!

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1 comment:

Tory Hall said...

I must say that I totally agree with what you say. Through my expereince, it has been true. I am a leader now because of qualities that I have always had, I just never really built on them or used them until now. Most of them I wasn't even aware about, but I had them my whole life. If I never would have joined Skills USA, I probably would have never found my inner leadership qualities and traits. I would still be following everyone in everything that they do. I think that the more a leader is aware of their own qualities, weaknesses, and strengths, the better the leader they are. They need to also know what it is like to follow. A true leader can never lead without knowing what it is like for the followers. The more they know what other people are going through, the more they will understand why things are the way they are, and they won't do things that those people wouldn't like or approve of.