Are Leaders Born or Made? by David Garic

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The age-old question continues to raise its ugly head: Are leaders born to lead, or are they made? Does Leadership DNA exist? We often point to one person or the other and say, “Now, he’s a leader,” without giving a lot of thought to how this person became a leader in the first place. Sometimes it is easy to simply conclude that some of us have the leadership gene and some of us do not. Those who do get to lead, while those who do not are forever assigned to the sidelines while leaders have all the fun, make all the decisions, and cover themselves in glory. This comes as rather unsettling news for those of us who fear we may get the opportunity to lead. What hope do we have that we can ever aspire to lead people, teams, companies, organizations, even our children? Fear not, there is hope for the rest of us because here is some very good news: Leadership DNA is a myth. There is no such thing as a natural ability to lead that exists within some of us while remaining absent in others. A closer examination of those leaders we often hold in high regard, those we refer to as role models, will reveal one common characteristic among all of them. They all have a burning desire to lead, to be influential, motivational, and take responsibility for themselves and others. What makes these leaders effective is not a natural ability; it is their desire to lead people, combined with a set of learned skills that they apply as leaders. The only real ingredient in the leadership recipe that they possessed when they began leading was desire. They learned the rest of it. The desire to lead was the motivational ingredient that drove them to lead; the skills they learned along the way are what allowed them to lead people. Obviously, there are some people who demonstrate a greater ability for leading people than others demonstrate. They are Leadership All-Stars. They are the best leaders among us and have become the best by practicing and learning from their practice....
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