Are leaders born or made?

Due to a recent change in my role I have been reflecting on good leadership skills and how they come about. This led me to look at a question often discussed Are leaders born or made? In an article in Psychology Today by Ronald E Riggio Ph.D, the basic answer is “mostly made” indicating that research estimates that leadership is one-third born and two-thirds made. So, if you want to develop leadership skills you can. Which is great news!

On further reflection, I wondered which came first for me, did I have some inborn leadership characteristics that have developed in various roles over my career, or did it come from the opportunities that I’ve been fortunate to have; such as gaining my Diploma in Leadership and Management, Level 5 through ILM and Staffordshire University whilst working at risual as a team lead?

I found that I don’t use leadership skills solely at work, I’m a volunteer for the National Trust at Shugborough Estate, and work in the gardens with a team made up of retired people, people with learning disabilities and a few paid staff. I noticed quite quickly that I was using my leadership skills to help complete common goals. A rough outline of tasks had been, everyone was standing round not knowing where to start and I could see that the task wasn’t going to be completed, which would have undone all the hard the hard work we had put in that day; so I asked questions of season volunteers about how they’d done it before, ascertained what equipment was available and asked their opinion about achieving it in the timeframe. And we did!

In conclusion I believe I have some natural attributes; I have a default setting to help people understand what they want, when they want it and what obstacles might get in the way and that training and continued learning enhance those skills.

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