Great Leaders: Are They Born or Made?

Topics: Leadership, Situational leadership theory, Skill Pages: 4 (1276 words) Published: February 24, 2009
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Henry Kissinger once said that "The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been." No one can deny that the act being a leader is an enormous job and that the best and worst leaders are remembered throughout history. What no one has determined thus far is if leaders are born or made. True leaders might have natural abilities that lend themselves to taking charge over people, but some leaders are born out of necessity; they see a situation and take control over it. The Great Trait website discusses the idea that there is a leadership trait that determines a future leader. This view is countered in Daniel Maltby’s article, “The State of Leadership Theory and Training Today”, where he suggests that leaders are developed, not born. Even Colin Powell agrees with this view. Francis Yammarino sees no point in discerning whether a leader is born or made, and John Gardner is more concerned with the unrealistic expectations for the leader once in charge. Therefore, a leader is made, not born, because with the right opportunities and training, anyone can become a leader. In ancient times, leaders were, in fact, born to the position. Leaders such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar were born into families who demanded that they would one day lead a nation. Others are born with the qualities necessary to become a great leader. Determining whether or not a leader is effective is the more difficult task. Some leaders suffer from the “halo effect”, meaning that people follow them because of the position, not necessarily because they are qualified to do the job. The Trait theory of leadership implies that some traits are inborn and ensure leadership potential. According to Aristotle, "some men are born to lead, and others to be led." The qualities of a great leader can be narrowed down to the following: 1) Sociability: dependable, responsible, 2

active, socially participate, cooperative, popular; 2) Motivation: show initiative...
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