Tuesday, 24 July 2012

“Are Leaders Born or Made?” - Professor M.S.Rao

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” - Vince Lombardi

During my leadership training programs I find a lot of confusion among the audiences for the question - whether leaders are born or made. Whenever I shoot this question the audiences get charged up quickly, and there is a heated debate about this topic. Some participants assert that leadership is an inborn quality as people acquire through heredity.   While some participants say that leadership is a quality that can be cultivated. And some assert that leaders are made.  In fact, there is no standard response for this question as some leaders are born whose parents had been proved to be great leaders while some leaders are made in the crucibles based on their experiences. 

The answer to the question must be to justify if leaders are born or made.  Here comes another question whether leadership qualities can be cultivated.  For this, Daniel Goleman cleared the cloud with his book on Emotional Intelligence where he declared that emotional intelligence can be acquired by learning through various sources including practice, experience, observation, reading, teaching, and training.  Daniel Goleman also substantiated that leadership success depends mostly on the emotional intelligence.  Hence, the response is very clear that leadership qualities can be acquired in the classroom and practiced in the boardroom.  In addition, leadership is a skill, not a talent. Skills can be cultivated over a period of time while talents are inborn.  Since leadership is a skill leadership qualities can be cultivated and leaders can be made.

There is also another school of thought which says that leadership is closely connected with X factor, and X factor is the one whether people have it or not as it comes through heredity. If you discuss leadership on X factor then leaders are born rather than made.  To conclude, some leaders are born while some leaders are made.  But overall, leadership qualities can be cultivated, and anybody can become a leader.  To conclude in the words of Warren G. Bennis, "The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born - that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born."

“Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not 'making friends and influencing people' — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” - Peter Drucker

Born for the Students

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