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Leaders: Born and Made sample essay

A large amount of research is carried out around ‘are leaders born or made?’ studies have shown that genetics and the environment both play a part in leadership development. However, the relative contribution of each is subject to much scientific debate. For example, intelligence plays a part in leadership development, as does emotional intelligence. Certain personality traits such as self-confidence, dominance and extroversion also play an important role. The family often influences us, as does the national and organisational culture. some individuals may have the potential to lead, but were never given the opportunity. And, some believe they cannot lead, when they could have. However, most leaders would no doubt agree with the words of the American football coach Vince Lombardi who said, “Contrary to the opinion of many, leaders are not born. Leaders are made, and they are made by effort and hard work.”

Vince Lombardi once stated, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” For centuries, this has been a debate one that continues into society today. There are many opinions on this topic, but one thing is certain; all leaders are born, effective leaders are made. Every leader must be born with certain characteristics that distinguish them above their peers. One such characteristic is intelligence. Effective leaders aren’t necessarily the smartest people, but they have to be smart enough to do the job they’re assigned. Another trait is the ability to motivate others and themselves to achieve results, and to make decisions. These essential traits, ones that any leader must possess, are the foundation for the making of an effective leader. Not a single leader was ever born with all the necessary skills to be an effective leader. Leadership is an apprentice trade, and most leaders learn more than 80% on the job. To become effective leaders must do one important thing; take responsibility and seek self-improvement.

The most successful leaders seek out training that provides them an opportunity to expand their leadership abilities. Goldsmith and Morgan studied the progress of over 88,000 managers that had attended leadership development training. Those that returned from the training, talked about what they had learned, and did deliberate work to apply their learning were judged as becoming more effective leaders. Those that did not showed no improvement.() This goes to prove that leaders are born, effective leaders are made. Leaders must always continue to grow, and an effective leader makes learning a lifelong activity. Effective leaders continually seek out opportunities that will allow them to develop new skills that may be utilized in other areas. Effective leaders also seek out projects or jobs that draw attention to their leadership skills. Performance alone will not get you to the top in your career. An effective leader makes themselves visible to those that make decisions, promotions, and assignments. Leaders become more effective when they seek new skills, and make themselves stand out to higher leaders. Providing yet even more evidence that leaders are born, effective leaders are made. Though there is no true means to tell if leaders are born or made, but there are two things evident. First, all people are born, so in effect all leaders are born. They are born with the foundational traits that leaders must possess. Second, leaders only become effective through experience or when taught the skills to be effective. This tends to lead to the opinion that effective leaders are both born and made.


Bock, W. (2006). Three Star Leadership. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from Official site of Wally Bosch: Gentry, W., Deal, J. J., Stawiski, S., & Ruderman, M. (2012, March). Are Leaders Born or Made? Retrieved November 21, 2013, from Center for Creative Leadership:

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