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Feb 4
Born or Made?
Are leaders born or made? That's one of the age-old questions that has had leaders pondering for years. If a leader is born, the thinking is that everything he or she does will be right and excellent. If a leader is made, the idea is that the leader would have to be trained, or molded to the proper way of thinking. Whether a leader is born or made is determined by their surroundings.


A true leader recognizes issues that exist around him and determines to bring resolution to the problem or at the very least, address the problem and assign a fix-it process.

Here's an excerpt from the website Three Star Leadership.

Leaders are Always Made

Leadership can be learned by anyone with the basics. But an awful lot of leadership cannot be taught.

That's because leadership is an apprentice trade. Leaders learn about 80 percent of their craft on the job.

They learn from watching other leaders and emulating their behavior. They choose role models and seek out mentors. They ask other leaders about how to handle situations.

Leaders improve by getting feedback and using it. The best leaders seek feedback from their boss, their peers and their subordinates. Then they modify their behavior so that they get better results.

Leaders learn by trying things out and then critiquing their performance. The only failure they recognize is the failure to learn from experience.

In their book, Geeks and Geezers, Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas identify the special power of what they call "crucibles." These are trials which teach hard lessons that leaders use as the basis of their strength in later crises. Many of these events can be called "failures," but leaders turn the bad situation to good by learning from it.

Effective leaders take control of their own development. They seek out training opportunities that will make a difference that will make a difference in their performance.

Effective leaders look for training programs that will help them develop specific skills that they can use on the job. Then, they when they return to work, they devote specific, deliberate effort to mastering in real life what they learned in the classroom.

Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan studied the progress of 88,000 managers who had been to leadership development training. The people who returned from the training, talked about it, and did deliberate work to apply their learning were judged as becoming more effective leaders. The ones who didn't showed no improvement.

If you're responsible for leadership development for your company, you should structure your support for your leaders to recognize that most leadership learning happens on the job. Help people develop leadership development plans. Help them select specific skills training and then work on transferring skills from the training to the job. Help them find role models, mentors and peers to discuss leadership issues.

Help your leaders get feedback from their boss, peers and subordinates. Work to create the culture of candor that will make that feedback helpful and effective.

Don't stop there. Make sure that you evaluate your leaders on their leadership work. Reward them and hold them accountable for accomplishing the mission through the group. And hold them accountable for caring for their people and helping them grow and develop.

 What do you think? Are leaders born or made?

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