Are leaders born or made? This has been a serious question for the past many decades with few arguing that leaders are born while others debating that they are made. However, the leadership myth that leaders are born implies to the fact that there is a genetic factor to a leadership. This myth also asserts that people have certain charismatic qualities or personality traits to be a leader. Which is not. If we observe some historical leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, etc., we find different personality traits in them all.
Generally speaking, a leader is a person who rises up from the multitude and comes forward to take the challenge. He is someone who has the best training, nurturing, developmental opportunities and someone who is not hidden in the crowd or unwilling to take new opportunities. Here, the best training does not necessarily include being exceptionally trained or mentored. Rather, it includes deliberate practice, struggle, sacrifice, hard work, and regular self-assessment of that individual. Best Leadership is a learning process where good leaders seek out developmental opportunities that will help them learn new skills, seek new experiences. Leadership learning is a lifetime activity where a leader is in a constant self-introspection mode and strives to learn, develop and improve.
The most heard phrase or the most used norm that “Everyone is born to lead”, often raises few questions that speak for the credibility of the leader. The questions like “Are you a leader?”, “What kind of leader are you?” and “What kind of leader do you want to be?” are something that an individual who wants to outstand the crowd listens to. The moment you give a thought to those questions and frame answers through your continuous efforts, opportunities, taking risks, working hard and commitment, is when you unlock the leadership potential in you. What determines a leader is his/her way of thinking which is further reflected in his behavior and later demonstrated.
There are few traits that every leader should possess.
1) Influence: A leader should be capable enough to influence his fellow mates, colleagues, workplace or wherever he is. His work and behavioral approach should influence the surroundings resulting in a progressive development.
2) Integrity: A leader should work at all times with integrity, honesty, and transparency. Frankly, great leaders demonstrate integrity and honesty even when it is excruciatingly difficult.
3) Inspire: Leaders should inspire great trust from those who follow them. He should inflict the confidence in them that they can rely on him to be strong and honest in the face of adversity.
And we’re confident that they will lead us to something better, from a place of clarity, integrity, and forthrightness, not for their own gain, but for the good of all.
4) Identify: A leader should be capable of identifying any problem or issue ahead be at the forefront to face it and handle it. His problem identification trait can take his team/ organization towards gain.
5) Interaction: Finally, a great leader should have a positive communication style with words that inspire the greatness and growth in his team. Words have the power to make or break, hence, the effective interaction of the leader is what builds his team towards optimism and success.
A perfect leader is one who combines the natural traits with training, knowledge acquired through learning, workshops, and experiences, creates a perfect blend of both and puts them into use.