Leadership Skills: Inborn or Learned?

Is it true if leadership skills inborn or learned? It is said that leaders are made, not born.  While there are those who say leadership skills are inborn, however you put it, it also depends on the situation the leader is facing, or what the leader needs to take action on.  Debating whether leadership skills are inherent or acquired, let us look at the different factors that can result in the rise of a leader.

Whether inborn or learned, leadership skills do need polishing.  There are some who may say they are born to lead.  Depending on whom they are leading and for what, leaders should have leadership skills.  We all start with a clean slate, and as they say, some rise above the rest.  It takes practice, mastery, and desire to reach excellence to make one from an ordinary person to becoming a leader.  Let us take a look how somebody rises from the rest and becomes a leader.

A leader rises when:

A.  They choose to lead. 

If somebody has the leadership skills but does not choose to lead, it is pointless.  That is not the quality of a leader.  Leaders need to choose to become leaders.  Leadership skills need to be polished or developed. Leaders need to have conviction and knowledge.  Knowledge can be information, skills or relationships.  These things can be acquired, learned and developed.  Self-assessment is necessary for the realization of the desire to become a leader.  It is true that some, in the social context, do not wish to become leaders, but rather were pushed to take on the role, because of a need.  It can be a need for change, improvement or progression.  For most, choosing to step up and take on a higher role in any organization does not happen overnight.  It takes years of education, practice and relationship cultivation to hone leadership skills in an individual.  This is because a leader does not only act on impulse, a leader analyzes, studies and considers all factors present when making decisions as this does not only involve him or her, the people he or she is leading, but also the organization he or she belongs to. 

B.  They constantly seek to improve.

There are different kinds of leaders in our world.  Being hungry for excellence simply means the leader would continuously seek to learn and be knowledgeable and be masters at their craft.  A leader does not become content with what is.  A leader seeks to learn, seeks to be skilled, and seeks to equip him or herself with what is needed to succeed.  Self-assessment is constant, gauging one’s capability and always on the lookout for opportunities to grow and learn more.  Grabbing the opportunities on hand is a powerful leadership skill.  It shows boldness, initiative, and assertiveness.  These leadership skills need to be constantly practiced for success.

C.  They share and inspire.

Leaders have followers who share with them their desire to achieve their goals.  With leaders constantly working on improving or developing, they inspire the people they lead in doing the same.  Constantly working on moving forward.  Always on the lookout for opportunities.  All towards the achievement of their goals.  This inspiration motivates and gives confidence to the people being led.  For somebody who is confident enough to share his or her skills and knowledge, leading people towards the achievement of their goals, either personally or as an organization, is one valuable leadership skill to develop.

D.    They must be reactive and responsive.

A leader is not a keen observer as well as being reactive and responsive. are leadership skills that are evident in a leader.  With the confidence and acquired knowledge and skills, a leader takes these learnings and exercises care in planning and decision making.  Considering all factors involved, the people, the goal, the resources and the tools available, clear and concise decisions are made in order to achieve their goal. 

E.  They take accountability

Taking accountability for plans and decisions made, is something that not all can do.  Taking accountability is a leadership skill that puts the bulk of the weight of every plan, every decision and every act made by the organisation, on the leader.  This is not something that is developed, but it is something that a leader must be prepared for.  Preparing for the risks is always the bitter pill to swallow for leaders.  However, when good plans and decisions are made, the fruits of that bitter pill are the sweetest, not just for the leader, but for the entire organisation.

To close, whether leadership skills are inborn or learned, those skills are in all of us.  But for these skills to come out and put into action to become leaders, that is where the difference lies.  Leaders take initiative, seek to improve and motivate.  With these, they grab opportunities to be masters of their craft, they equip themselves with the knowledge and skills needed and aspire mastery.  Their eye is always on the prize; however, in winning the prize, leaders make solid and good plans and decisions in consideration of their resources, people, the organisation and their goal. 

If you or your organisation want to develop leadership skills but feel lack of guidance, send me a message today.

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