Are You A Born Leader?

Are You A Born Leader?

The debate whether leaders are born or made has been waged for many years. The question centers around how various leadership qualities are acquired. Perhaps a more pressing question for hopeful leaders is, if they don’t inherently have the needed core skills, can they be learned? The answers, while not endorsed unanimously, are based on a number of observed realities. Of the many skills required to lead well, it’s hard to imagine anyone being born with them all; they are too intricate and diverse for one personality. Most experts agree that a number of leadership attributes require experience to possess. Dr. Ronald Riggio sums it up well in his 2009 article for Psychology Today, entitled, Leaders: Born or Made? He points out that research reveals all leaders have qualities that are both inborn and developed. In other words, it takes a certain type of person to fit the leadership mold, and that person must learn skills in addition to any that come naturally. Data reveals that leaders are split, with approximately one-third being “born” and two-thirds being “made”. What this means is that one-third rely most heavily on the skills they are born with, while two-thirds rely most heavily on the skills they develop. Dr. Connson Chou Locke, in her 2014 Harvard Business Review article, Asking Whether Leaders Are Born or Made Is the Wrong Question, explains that inborn skills, which are mostly revealed in a leader’s personality, lend themselves to a leader’s emergence. These are the qualities that present a person as eligible for leadership and place their name in leadership discussions. On the other hand, developed skills...
Establish a Culture of Trust

Establish a Culture of Trust

Countless management books, seminars and programs offer insights into how leaders can develop trust within their organizations. Their consistent theme—“It begins with you”—is certainly valid, as leaders must model trust and set an example for their people. Success depends on a personal campaign of inner reflection, values assessment and relational intelligence. Training can be effective and rewarding, but much of the focus often stops there. Leaders develop trust (defined as “relying on others to do the right thing”) after observing people’s character and behavior over time and gaining confidence in them. They earn trust by consistently displaying personal integrity, accountability and concern for others. Trust, in fact, is the most potent tool in a leader’s arsenal, asserts JetBlue Airways Chairman Joel Peterson in The 10 Laws of Trust: Building the Bonds That Make a Business Great(AMACOM, 2016). Trusted leaders are more productive, profitable and prosperous. Their people are more engaged, morale and loyalty soar, and the overall work ethic is enviable. The organization sees lower turnover, waste and inefficiency. But trust is not limited to Mahogany Row. While we’re often led to believe that trustworthy behavior will permeate the work environment like ripples in a pond, this trickle-down theory is overly simplistic. As Gallup studies reveal, employees trust their coworkers even less than their leaders. Organizations cannot reach their full potential until leaders establish a culture where employees trust their coworkers. Leaders may require assistance from a professional coach to achieve this goal. Create a Standard of Integrity Leaders are standard-bearers who establish the basic tenets of integrity throughout their organizations. They must clearly communicate four key values and...