Research from the Center for Creative Leadership attempted to answer the question of whether leaders are born or made. You can read the research here. While 52% of the respondents believe that leaders are made, fully 19% believe that people are born leaders. A further 28% believe that they are both born and made.
I found it to be a very strange topic to research. If you look at the results, 48% of people would appear to believe that you need to be born with leadership capabilities to become a leader and of those, 19% think that no amount of training can help. I suppose that those who believe that you need to have some innate leadership capability would be those that support streaming of children in early grades or that an aristocracy is a better form of government than a meritocracy. The same discussion takes place all the time in the world of entrepreneurship wherein people attempt to pontificate about whether entrepreneurs are born or made.
It is a silly discussion as it doesn’t get us anywhere as a society. We need entrepreneurs and we need leaders. Every single person has some degree of entrepreneurial spirit and some degree of leadership capability. Leadership does not only happen at the CEO level or in politics. Each and every person needs to perform some act of leadership even if that is only providing a vision and motivating oneself to get through the day. Every person in a working environment who collaborates with others needs to perform small acts of leadership on a daily basis.
I’m hoping that the Center for Creative Leadership come out soon with a study about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Perhaps instead of arguing about whether leaders are born or made, we should be trying to figure out how to accelerate their growth as fully 81% seem to believe that this is possible..