Are Leaders Made Or Born?


In last week’s posting, I wrote about the traits leaders have.  Now you may not agree with me on the traits that you would put on your list.  However, it would be hard to dispute that true leaders do not have the traits I pointed out (Integrity, Empowerment, Skills/Intelligence, Inspiring, Imaginative, Courageous).

But as I was writing that blog post, another thought came into my mind…”Are true leaders born?  Or can they learn to be leaders?”  If you Google that, 33.8 million articles are found from some sites like Forbes, but also academic, leadership, and psychological industry sites.

Again, I am talking about true leaders.  Not the people who are in a leadership role by title only or those in an authority position that could not lead an ant to a picnic, or lead a group if their life depended on it.  I am talking about a real leader.

We can all name true leaders from all walks of public and private life that are natural leaders.  Some are leaders in both senses of the word, by title and perceived authority.  Some of these include historical figures, political leaders (which I feel are different than politicians), and business innovators.  But the question does arise that are these leaders naturally leaders or did they learn to be?

I think the answer is yes! Both!

Some people just have natural leadership instincts and abilities.  Just like some people are naturally better at sports, or math, or painting.  I also think that you can learn to be a leader by understanding and learning from other leaders.

However, regardless if the leader is naturally one or developed into one, one thing is for sure.  If they don’t continue to work and hone the traits that make them a leader in a positive direction, they may not be a good leader for long.  Just like the athlete who practices daily, the painter who is constantly trying new methods, or Albert Einstein figuring out the equation of energy, leaders need to work on themselves, too.

What do you think?  Let me know if you think leaders are made or born.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at


About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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