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Are Leaders Born or Taught?...Yes!

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Jan 6, 2016 12:00:00 PM


leaders-born-taught.jpgThat age old argument about whether leaders are born or taught is moot in my mind. I believe it is both. There are some who exhibit natural God-given talents and temperaments to lead. They are the ones who step up, make suggestions and have charisma. There are also leaders who have worked at leadership. They have taken life experiences or the words of great mentors to heart and learned well. These leaders are the lifelong learners who are excited to gain a new skill or put a new tip into practice. Leaders are both born and taught. As association leaders it is important we understand both sides of our leadership and leverage each so we can be the most effective leaders possible. 

For the “born” leader side of your leadership:

  • Remember every character strength can also be a weakness. As an extrovert, I love and gain energy from the crowd, but I still need to think quietly as a leader and not just spend time in the crowd.
  • Find the style that matches your nature. Don’t try to be the leader somebody else is—Be your own leader and play to your strengths.
  • Create a complementing team. Find the right people and ingredients in those people to play off your leadership. If you are big picture be sure to have someone who is good with details.

For the “taught” leader side of your leadership:

  • Don’t be the “old dog.” Learn a new trick. Find a course to expand your leadership tool box.
  • Today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders. Go to the library, online e-book store or ASAE store and find a leadership book to read and learn from.
  • Study good leaders. Watch how others influence, solve problems, motivate, create vision, strategize and attack problems. Sit next to a leader at your next ISAE meeting and pick their brain on a situation you are currently facing.

You are a leader, born and taught. Regardless if you are more of a born leader or one who has learned leadership, keep growing. Good leaders are not static.

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Topics: Leadership, Association Executives

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