The age old question asks whether leaders are born or made. And somehow, we never get tired of asking it or seeking the answer. Truth is that perhaps both options are true. In my view most people in leadership positions can develop leadership skills like communication, presence, EQ etc but that won’t always make them leaders.
In fact, some people may be a whole lot happier without the title or the stress.
As Shakespeare so aptly wrote in King Henry IV: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
So instead of asking if leaders are born or made, ask yourself if you think you have what it takes to be a leader?
If you don’t truly own the leadership position or enjoy it for that matter, then my suggestion is to leave it alone; at least for now anyway or until such time as the role and what it means is clearer for you.
The leadership role is not for everyone. While many have the ability to lead, it is clear not everyone aspires to it but rather is nudged or pushed along by expectations or pressure of others.
However if things are in alignment in terms of your goals and you are afforded the opportunity to lead and want it, leadership becomes a way of thinking; a way of life and not just a role. You live as a leader because it’s who you are. It’s part of your leadership DNA.
Of course it’s likely that there are gaps in everyone’s leadership skills even when they are at the top of their game. But good leaders relish the opportunity to learn, thrive and accelerate on the back of sometimes uncomfortable outcomes. This is because they are not afraid to take their responsibility seriously and tap into their inner potential and polish it for the benefit of better outcomes.
If being an effective leader is really the direction you wish to head, you need to align your authentic intent, your style and your ability. Once you do that, you will be able to take the leadership role and immediately begin leading with real integrity.
If you have read this and feel that you aren’t cut out to be a leader, that’s great. No team is successful if everyone wants to lead. It needs supporters, workers, ideas people and more. Be proud that you’ve recognised your own capabilities. Your contribution is just as important.
On the other hand, perhaps you’ve come to realise that there is no one set model of leadership, and that the picture you had in your head was of only one particular style. You might realise that you actually do have leadership potential, so do something about it — and that begins with having a good mentor, coach or outside thinking partner or confidante to rattle your thoughts and get you into action.
Being a genuine leader is for those with a true passion for the role, and who want to make a positive difference in their organisation. Whatever your style, successful leadership begins and ends with being true to whatever makes us the best we can be — to ourselves, to others and to the organisations we lead.