For several years, the concern whether leaders are born or made is an issue of great controversy. From different opinions however, it could be a little bit of both hence proving that any manager can go on to be a great leader as well.
Among other definitions, Maxwell (1993, p.11) has defined leadership as an ability to influence others. He also defined a leader as a person who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal or goals. Leaders are also thought to be people who listen and learn from others, energize the organization, act for the benefit of everyone, develop themselves and others, empower others to lead and recognize achievement.
Through out the history there are some living examples of those who have been identified themselves as leaders. Those include Winston Church Hill, the man who stood alone against dictatorship and renewed the world’s faith in the superiority of democracy. Martin King Luther, who led a mass struggle for racial equality and changed America forever, Nelson Mandela who became the world’s most famous prisoner and became an example of a moral integrity far beyond South Africa. Richard Branson, who has became one of the greatest entrepreneur in today’s business world. And so on.
Some leaders may be born. The basic assumption of the Trait Theory is that people are born with inherited traits.
There are many successful leaders who demonstrated their skills at an early age. They have natural talents that make them to be ‘natural leaders’. Sometimes they also obtained characteristics or elements of a leader when they are born.Studies over recent years supported that at least half our traits are inherited. In other words, some people are born with the characteristics of a leader while some people are not. People born with these characteristics made them outstanding among other people and followers usually want their leader contains these traits.
Perhaps the world’s first study of leadership as it relates to heredity was conducted by Sir Francis Galton in 1869. Galton invented the science of eugenics, the study of hereditary improvement of the human race using selective breeding. Eugenics was “used to blame social ills on the perceived genetic traits of entire groups of people. Under Adolph Hitler, it was used to justify the murder of millions” (Sorensen, PG). Clearly, Galton was on the wrong path; but there may be some truth to the idea that leadership skills and other personality traits are inheritable.Twin studies have proven that we are born with certain personality characteristics.
This theory believes that leaders are born that way, they are naturally braver, more aggressive, and more decisive and more articulate, this means they stand out in physical characteristics, personality and intelligence. They also argue that a leader is born with certain inherited characteristics or quality traits that a good leader must have. Researchers have identified some correlation between leadership and certain personality traits. They found out that good leaders always have some quality traits that distinguished from non-leaders. (Laurie J Mullins, 1996, p. 417) suggests that good leaders should be self-confident, honest, initiative and have cognitive and supervisory ability. Besides, they always desire to lead people. In his findings, Stogdill (1984, p.536-7) also identified several traits that appeared consistent with effective leadership, suggesting the possibility of innate leadership characteristics. Without these quality traits they can not become good leaders. In agreement with the findings, there are many successful leaders who demonstrated their skills at an early age. They have natural talents that make them to be ‘natural leaders’. Sometimes they also obtained characteristics or elements of a leader when they are...