Once again, the question of nature versus nurture rears its ugly head. On one hand, we have those who claim that the characteristics of a leader are innate –either you have it or you don’t. This is the nature side of the debate. Others argue on the side of nurture; individuals develop leadership as time passes. So, who’s right?
Are Leaders Born or Made?
Or rather, who cares?
Neither side can argue their case to the absolute. Speaking in reasonable terms, there will always be those who, by sheer luck, are born with characteristics that comprise a good leader. Similarly, there will always be those who develop those skills eventually and adapt their current skills (which may not be leader-worthy yet) to form a leadership identity.
The more pressing question is: What should we believe? Thus the argument is as follows: Even if leaders were born, it would still benefit us all if we assumed that they were nurtured. While evidence and current beliefs heavily favor the nurture side of the discussion, let’s assume both sides are of equal value –why then, would it still be favorable to believe in made over born?
1) It creates purpose
Purpose in the workplace and to a certain extent –life –is the fundamental drive behind our actions. To believe that we are at the mercy of our luck takes away one factor that motivates us to push further. Even if we may not progress as a leader by honing our skills, the effort in itself that is made is something beneficial to ourselves and the people around us. Without the prospect of breaking free from our predetermined nature, motivation to go beyond expectations wouldn’t exist.
2) It prompts action
Talking in a business context, it would be preferable if workplace leaders believed that leaders are developed. By doing so, a greater need to train and equip employees exist. Rather than sitting around and waiting for born leaders to plop in front of the doorstep, an effort to seek out and develop future leaders would exist. Even if we assume people are leaders by nature, it would be better if we had a mentality of developing them regardless.
In some cases, the belief that leaders naturally show their capabilities is detrimental to the workforce. Rather than inner development in a company and uplifting employees, finding leaders is a hit-and-miss game.
3) Leadership is fluid
A good leader is never stagnant. They develop with the times and adapt to the challenges of the present. By very definition, the ideal leader is one who is constantly nurturing him or herself. It would be better to assume that leaders are nurtured –after all, self-development is an important component of being a leader.