Leadership - Inate or Learned

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Leadership: Innate Ability or Learned Skill?

There are many different opinions on how a person becomes a great leader. One view is that leaders are born. They are gifted with the ability to be natural role-models and have the capability to cause others to want to follow them. Another view is that there is no way a person is just born with leadership ability. Instead, people learn from others and develop leadership abilities through trial and error. The most sensible view, however, is leaders are a combination of the two, they are both born with a leadership mentality and have also learned, from other great leaders, skills which they use to become a great leader. In addition, great leaders must have the desire to want to leader others. It is not reasonable to believe that a great leader can not have both some innate abilities as well as some sound training in leadership.

Take for example a leader on a sports team. When a team is formed the members of that team naturally engage in a ranking of themselves. The “top dog” emerges due to his or her innate physical ability to dominate in the given sport. One could argue that the best or most gifted athlete on the team is the natural leader. On the other hand, if that athlete is not someone that the team will respect or have confidence in, he or she is no more a leader than any other person on the team. In spite of this, the most gifted athlete can be trained to exhibit those characteristics that are common to every good leader. One illustration of this situation is Terrell Owens. No one can argue the fact that he is a very gifted athlete and one of the best football players on any NFL team. However, his behavior is not that of a leader. He does not conduct himself in a way that causes others to want to follow him and instead of bringing unity to his team; he is often a source of division. That is not to say that he could not be trained and molded into a better leader. On the other end of this...
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