Do You Believe That the Greatest Leaders Are Born, Not Made
When you ask people why they followed their leader or what made their leader great, most would use words like charismatic, honest, trustworthy and confident. So this begs the question, are these all qualities that are born or learned? According to Webster’s dictionary, charisma is a “spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people. ” So a charismatic leader can be defined as a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as a person with supernatural or superhuman powers or qualities.
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So with that said, can that be learned over time or simply just polished? How can those qualities or characteristics be taught? We can take a charismatic person and polish or refine them to be better leaders but charisma, according to the definition cannot be taught. According to Dr. Joe Pace in “The Workplace: Interpersonal Strengths and Leadership” he describes three qualities to what makes a good leader. “A good leader used his or her authority to do three things: motivate, manage and make Decisions. (Pace-84) So by this definition one would assume that these characteristics can be learned. Through mentorship in the workplace one can be taught when to make the decision, how to manage personnel and how to motivate people. After all, the human resources division in the professional work environment spends countless hours and dollars training personnel on learning how to effectively motivate their personnel and manage them correctly. So in this example it would appear that leadership can be learned.
I have been told by many that I command presence when I walk into a room. For years it would bother me that so many people found it necessary to touch me, to find a way to brush up against me or reach out and hold my arm as I was talking to them. I use to ask my wife all the time “why do so many people find it necessary to touch me? ” She tried to explain to me that people wanted to see if I was real and that I carried such a positive aura about me that commanded respect, attention and confidence and some people needed or wanted to be a part of that.
I use to laugh it off and tell her she was crazy but this has been happening since I can remember. I remember being in middle school going to watch my brothers play high school football and when I would talk to my older brothers the girls would always put their hands on me to tussle my hair, grab me to hug me or even put an arm around me and I use to just find it odd but always just chalked it up to girls liking my brothers. As I got older I noticed the same things happening to me and sometimes to the point of feeling uncomfortable about the situation.
So again I would ask my wife the same question and her reply became “just because you are older and heavier than you were twenty years ago, your presence is still known when you walk into a room and people want to be part of you. You need to learn to embrace it, accept it and just know that this will always happen to you. ” She went on to explain to me that people love to be around me because they always feel that I am the smartest person in the room, even if I am not, my complete confidence in myself commands that.
She explained to me that when I speak to people, I am always speaking with complete confidence and believe what I am saying and I never doubt myself or give the appearance of it. So I think back at my life and wonder to myself; where did I learn this? I have come to the conclusion that I never learned this, I was born with this and over time I have polished it and refined it. So for me personally, I have to believe great leaders are born, not made. References Bock, Wally. Three Star leadership, 2006. http://www. threestarleadership. com/articles/bornormade. htm Conger, J. A. , and R. N. Kanungo (Eds), Charismatic Leadership in Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998 Pace, Joe DR. The professional development series: Book Two: The Workplace; Interpersonal Strengths and Leadership. Published by McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY.