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Are Leaders Born or Made?

By Mark J. Cappone 

I’ve been asked several times recently if I believe that leaders are born or made. To some degree, I think this is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophesy and depends on what we believe. I believe that leaders are made, but only insomuch as the aspiring leader is willing to learn and continually improve his or her leadership capabilities.

While talking with an emerging leader recently, I recounted an old saying that leadership is largely defined by character, competence and commitment. I told the young woman that a great deal of help was available in the competence department, but that the character and commitment aspects were ‘on her.’

Why did I say this?

Our character is ours alone. It is something that we choose to uphold by conducting ourselves in ways that exemplify our values and beliefs in what is right. Similarly, we alone choose to commit ourselves to any endeavor. No one can make us commit to being a better leader, commit to accomplishing a mission or commit to working collaboratively as a member of a team. Those choices are ours alone. If we’re willing to learn, grow and continuously improve however, we have our entire lives ahead of us in which to explore, reflect and practice in order to become more competent leaders.

That begs the question for those seeking to lead: Do you possess the character and commitment that it takes? If the answer is yes, then what’s holding you back? Start building your competence today!


This article is support by research concerning leadership personality traits and leadership development: https://kerryflowers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AreLeadersBornOrMade.pdf

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