Are Great Leaders Born or Made?

Before we discuss whether leaders are born or made it is important to understand the concept of leadership. Although social scientists have been studying leadership since the beginning of the 20th century there is yet to be a consensus for the definition of leadership . Senge defines leadership as ‘the capacity of a human community to shape its future.

I believe that there are two aspects to this definition that are very useful, first it emphasises on the collective rather than an individual and secondly, on influencing the future. If we look back in history not all great feats have been accomplished by individuals rather they have been a collective effort. Human beings have always had a creative orientation to shape their future according to their own needs and wants. This makes leadership slightly paradoxical.

The timeless question, ‘Are great leaders born or made?’

Apparently Marshall responds, ‘Great leaders are born, then made’.

This answer signifies the importance of a continuous process of life-long learning for ourselves and the people around us. Our assumption that great leaders can be made signifies that this us a developmental process. Understanding this idea can save organisations from just picking people to attend to a particular leadership role. Even if we hire the most talented individuals and disable their ability to learn and grow they will fail in their job. The most important aspects to understand are, how do people grow and develop within organisations, how can we create an environment where people can continually grow and develop and how do we make new leaders.

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