Monday, February 21, 2011

Great Leaders are Not Born, they are Made

For centuries people have debated whether leaders are born or made. Several decades ago researchers started trying to answer the question. The debate goes on, even though we know the answer. 

All of us are born with one trait in common: potential. Of course there are many potentials, but the key in dealing with potential is the stimulus and environment that brings it out. Therefore I totally agreed with the topics given. Great leaders are not born, they are made.

First, let's talk about leadership traits or characteristics. There are many schools of thought on which traits make the best leaders, but the most common traits tend to make sense. One trait is a sense of adventure or exploration. It means that leaders seek out the answers in their environment, whether it's Arctic exploration or the assembly line in a manufacturing company. Not only is there an urge to explore, but there's also a need or desire to innovate the findings. So leaders strive to determine why things work, but also want to improve them, to make them different, to make them new. 

Leaders must have an ability to influence through persuasion. This doesn't necessarily mean that each person will have a charismatic, verbal approach to persuasion, it just means that each leader, in his or her own way, will be able to influence people.

Another common characteristic to leaders is the courage to speak out. If leaders see through their exploration that things could be different, they are going to say something about it instead of sitting on that bit of information. Leaders also have a strong belief and enthusiasm in themselves and what they and their organizations are doing. 

These are not superhuman traits and characteristics. These are also not characteristics that one is born with or not. For example, if you grew up in an environment where risk-taking was considered foolish, you may not have a belief in yourself as a risk taker. But, in the right environment, who knows what your capabilities are?
So we've seen that leadership characteristics are most likely inherent and can be developed in the right environment. But how do we learn leadership? First of all, we learn leadership through observation and emulation. 

A potential leader will be on the constant lookout for someone to emulate and it's your responsibility to lead the way. Some leaders learn through trial and error. Just think about the number of well-known inventors, authors, and even actors who have been rejected over and over again. With each rejection, these leaders adjusted something about their approach. 

Leaders learn through taking risks and potential leaders have already taken the time to examine their surroundings and look for ways to innovate. Taking the risk means a leader will speak out, persuade, or just make the change that leads to innovation.

 Finally, leaders learn through constant self-development. Leaders and potential leaders know that learning and development is a lifetime thing. It doesn't stop when one reaches a goal or a plateau and leaders are on the lookout for ways to develop at all times.


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Alor Gajah, Malaysia
Mira - Really obsessed with PINK and of course HEELS. Wani - Addicted to LG Lollipop handphone. Pika - SMART and COOL. Although we have DIFFERENT interest but we have SAME goal which to success in our study.