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7/30/07

Is Leadership Earned Rather than Being a Natural Attribute?

This question is similar to the nurture versus nature debate. Many of us have heard the phrase “natural born leader,” however, it takes more than birth to create a leader. Although I do believe that some people have the natural ability to persuade people or have exceptional charisma and/or personality, leaders are created either through teachings or by circumstance.

Leaders can be taught to be leaders. Examples of such teachings occur in the military, higher education, and/or personal betterment. Although each of these fields of learning can create a “leader,” each creates a different type of leader. No one is better than the other, however, each emphasizes different personal attributes in the potential leader.

Leaders are also created through circumstance. In times of great tragedy (such as a natural disaster and or a historical event) and in times of great achievement (whether financial, scientific, engineerial, etc.) people “step-up” and take the leadership role or become the “face” of the event. What makes these leaders different is that they travel their own path, and most of the time are unaware that they are going to have to assume a leadership role. These leaders, in my opinion, tend to be more passionate about their role because something personal is usually the leader’s driving motivation.

People need to be wary of leaders. When people start to lose their own ideals and passions in order to follow the ideals and/or motivations of a particular leader, that leader can acquire too much power. I firmly believe that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” therefore we should always keep our own senses when any leader, no matter if it is political, personal, financial, religious, educational, etc. comes to power, because no matter the title of the person, that person is still human and humans are fallible.


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