Leaders born or made?
Are Leaders – Born or Made?
This is one question that doesn’t go away. This could suggest that the answers provided simply do not satisfy or it could be that the question is a foundation-level concern. Here’s a different slant that might make sense to pragmatic business people. Great leaders emerge out of situations by doing three things particularly well. Because leadership is situational – dependent on the circumstances and context – it can be demanded of anyone and everyone. Senior people in an organization are expected to lead if only because such people are aware of the big picture most of the time.
So what are the three things that leaders are expected to do?
Firstly, they need to focus the need for change that lurks below the threshold of most people’s awareness. We all want more but we may not always recognize this until it’s presented in a particular way – that is, it’s focused in our awareness.
Secondly, leaders must facilitate the changes in response to a given situation so that a new and sustainable reality is created. Note that they do not fabricate the change directly for this has to be done by those who will ‘own’ the new reality. The leader has to stimulate, support and reinforce the changes that are required without getting too involved.
Thirdly, the leader who cares, who is memorable and respected, is the one who follows through to ensure that the needed change, the new reality, is fulfilling to those who desired it. Great leaders build futures and fellowship, results and relationships.
When I’m looking for evidence of leadership in others, I ask three questions;
- How were you able to reach those who needed your leadership? – focus
- What did you do to support the changes that others required? – facilitation
- What was the outcome or result that tells you success was achieved? – follow through.
This is all learned behavior but only those who are self-directed and other-aware will take the time to do it. The steps are simple but they’re often less than easy. Focus – Facilitation – Follow-through; how will you do?
David Huggins MASc, FIoD, CMS is an experienced behavioral scientist and executive coach who’s dedicated to bringing out the best in individuals and groups. His insights and direct contributions have taken business leaders to elevated dimensions in performance. He can be reached through his websites at www.andros.org and www.polarisprogram.com