Leaders Are Born or Made

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Although some individuals are naturally more inclined to become leaders, it should be noted that their early life experience plays a fundamental role in their future life (Mishra & Karen, 2008). All people can become leaders only if they desire and take efforts to do so. In relation to this, it is clear that some people are more empathetic than others, others are more energetic and some are more engaging than others (Mishra & Karen, 2008). This implies that individuals have unique composition of talents, motives and dreams that provide a raw material for getting the best out of everyone around them. Mishra & Karen (2008) state that “leaders who consistently keep their commitments are frank almost to a fault, and perform incredibly, while seeking to better the lives of those around them rather than simply filling their own bank accounts” (p. 4). These people act both humbly and heroically, but they are not superhuman or unbelievable. According to Avolio (2005), one of the truths held by many people about leadership is that leaders are born to lead and made by some mysterious confluence of events. Most of what leaders have that enables them to lead is learned. Therefore, Avolio (2005) points out that leadership is not a mysterious activity and, thus, the ability to perform complex tasks is widely distributed to people. Many people articulate that leadership is inborn and it has become a truth for them and a part of their mental image or model about leadership. Avolio (2005) further indicates that personal training, a feedback or personal coaching in the world are likely to fall short of achieving its objectives of developing a person’s leadership potential. When we accept that leaders are born to lead, we may avoid being engaged in situations and experiences that trigger ones full potential. People may get engaged in those situations and experiences, but fail to derive a deep meaning from those events that enhance an individual’s leadership development (Avolio, 2005). To be in the state of accepting that leaders are made, we must believe that certain things are not fully programmed in advance. Avolio (2005) notes that thinking in terms of becoming a leader is an important part of the mental model that provides each of us with a greater readiness to assume new roles and responsibilities en route to redefining our relationships with others. Therefore, Avolio (2005) asserts that leadership is by no means irrevocably fixed by genetics. The basis of arguing whether leaders are made or born is clearly one’s predisposition, our genetic base, and with what we are born into this world and what we hopefully fully utilize. Avolio (2005) claims that the aspect of “leaders being made is underestimated if we simply believe that leadership is born and if we fail to accumulate and learn from life experiences that have already been shown to have an impact on leadership development” (p. 3).  Avolio adds that even if someone is predisposed to be a leader by some favorable combination of genetics, he or she is not preordained, and learning and leading must go hand in hand for anyone to achieve his or her full leadership potential (2005). Using the perception that the majority of humans are born positively-programmed, it is reasonable to conclude that they have the ability to inspire others, which is one of the characteristics of leadership (Hennessy, 2004). In support of that argument, leaders can be seen as born rather than made. Hennessy (2004) points out that there are individuals who are born and raised in a negative environment, but seek positive one in every sphere of life. Such people consciously fine-tune their leadership abilities throughout their life and, thus, they are self-made leaders, who strive for bettering themselves at every opportunity. Hennessy (2004) continues commenting that through sheer hard work they eventually reach the point of calm inner resonance and at this point they will know deep inside that they...
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