Leadership: Born or Made?
man in suit on city street

Are leaders born or made? Many say leaders are born of the occasion; others are convinced that innate talent is born in us or not.

Leadership and management expert Ken Filler believes leadership is a whole set of skills. They can be learned by training, practice, and experience over time. Good leaders are always seeking out development opportunities that will help them learn new skills.

While some believe that leaders are born, Filler points to research that indicates leaders are made through their self-awareness and willingness to improve.

It’s true that people are born with certain innate gifts and talents, but the majority of leadership skills can be developed by working with a mentor and a good career coach.

The most important leadership skill you can have today is people skills: the ability to get along with different kinds of personalities and to get them to buy into you as the leader. These are critical factors in your overall success as a leader.

85% of your ability to succeed as a leader is based on your soft skills–emotional intelligence, adaptability, active listening; 15% is based on hard skills–computer, marketing, or writing skills.

Self-awareness is a big key to helping you develop as a top leader in any industry. You must know your weaknesses and be open to feedback. It is also critical to accept constructive criticism to improve your skills. Any feedback that a new leader can get is invaluable. Don’t dismiss it! Ask those you are leading for feedback. Take this information and put it to work for you.

How do you communicate under pressure? Do you lead through intimidation or motivation? Leading through motivation is a learned skill. Once mastered, this will increase your success in the workplace.

Filler believes leaders are made through their desire to succeed and their willingness to self-reflect and accept constructive criticism. What are your thoughts?


Beth Kelzer
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