Are Leaders Born or Developed?

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Are Leaders Born or Developed?

leadershipThis is like the age-old conversation.  Which comes first?  The chicken or the egg?

Is it possible to look at a room full of 1st graders and point at one individual and say, “That woman will be running a company some day!”  Seems unlikely.

If it were that easy, organizations would be a whole lot better at hiring managers and leaders.  Or at least we would hope they would be!

Instead, it is very challenging to know at a glance who will make a great leader in your organization.

However, there are at least three traits and/or skills that you should be looking for if you will be hiring or promoting a leader/manager in your organization:

  1. Are they an effective communicator? Does this person have the capability to effectively communicate with others in person and in writing? And perhaps even more importantly, do they know how to listen (or have the ability to stop talking)?
  2. Can they work with others to set goals and then hold them accountable for meeting those goals?
  3. Can they provide feedback and help develop others in a meaningful way?

Please note that there was no mention of technical skills or years of work experience mentioned in this list.  All too often, the best salesman becomes the sales manager or the highly skilled engineer becomes the department manager.   Probably not the best option if you are looking for a solid manager/leader.

Now back to the question:  can you develop and train a leader or do you have to identify and hire a born leader?

We can tell you what our philosophy is on leadership here at On Target Talent.  We tend to think it is a little bit of both.  There are definitely some individuals who seem to innately be better at those three necessary leadership skills.  Those individuals, with a little bit of guidance and training will likely prove to be outstanding leaders in your organization.

However, there are also others who may turn out to be some pretty darn good managers and/or leaders with just a little bit of help.  Teaching employees how to better communicate with one another not only helps them become potential managers but also increases teamwork and performance.  This assistance can be as easy as online leadership courses for many individuals.

To learn more about our leadership training options or to preview our leadership materials, visit On Target Talent or contact us at

By | 2016-10-25T16:34:13+00:00 July 29th, 2013|Blog, Leadership|Comments Off on Are Leaders Born or Developed?