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Are You Wired to Lead?

| | Personal Leadership
Are You Wired to Lead?

Anyone CAN lead, but not everyone WILL lead.

Skills are, of course, necessary if you want to lead others over time and do it effectively.  Nonetheless, if you have a purpose for leading and a strong desire to lead, you can develop the skills you will need.

Yet despite ample evidence that leadership can be learned, some people will not choose to lead.

And despite an abundance of natural skills, abilities and disposition that might seem to give some people an advantage in becoming a leader, not everyone who is born to lead will choose to be a leader.

Even in cases where someone is invited to step into a leadership position, there are those who will never step up to become a leader even if they accept the position.

Finally, while there is much evidence that “you don’t have to be THE leader to be A leader,” not everyone will choose to take the lead when the opportunity presents itself.

What could be the determining factor in whether someone takes the lead or not?

While leaders aren’t necessarily born, there is one character trait that is evident in every person I have observed take the lead:  COURAGE. tweet this

Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.  In the moment you are faced with an opportunity to lead, you must be willing to confront these things.

Of course, the reason some people will not choose to lead will be because they don’t care enough to take the risk.  However, when the caring and the commitment is present, the choice to lead requires courage.  For some, it is courageous to speak up for the first time in front of just a few people.  For others, courage could be as bold as charging into a battle in which life and limb is at risk.  We can’t judge the amount of courage any act takes as an outside observer because courage is profoundly personal.

Yet could it be that some of us are wired to be more likely to lead than others?

By “wired to lead,” I mean they are born with the emotional wiring that supports them in being courageous.

Or do you think courage is something that can manifest in anyone, if they are moved and motivated enough by the cause that calls for them to act as a leader?

I can make the case for both.  What I really want to know is…

What do you think?

photo credit: European Parliament

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SurvivorSharingStrength   |   29 July 2014   |   Reply

Retaliation against those willing to step up, speak up and stand up on behalf of others is a prominent deterrent for leaders who choose to do so anyway. In spite of being courageous or bold enough to be a change agent, there is always a risk taken while holding a leadership role. As your motto states: “You don’t have to be The Leader, to be A Leader.”

The question then becomes is this- if leaders step down out of fear of reprisal then who exactly is leading? Would that then mean they are not leaders but followers instead? Or perhaps the need of leaders today to have the power or control with titles that claim them leaders at all, is perhaps too indicative of a falseness to said position and or authority of which they so have been given to even be in such role to begin with.

Leaders lead and managers manage. Everyone has the opportunity each day to be a leader with or without the receiving of title, position, or what is seen as success. Intentions with sight to see the greater good are the ultimate purpose of leadership…it’s about others (not of selfish ambition) that true leaders are cultivated.

Susan Mazza   |   29 July 2014   |   Reply

I love this question “if [positional] leaders step down out of fear of reprisal then who exactly is leading?”. I think those folks are actually abdicating – following would be giving too much credit as there is more honor in following!

As you point out leadership is independent of title and position. And yet we have an expectation, validly so I think, that those in positions of leadership will actually be leaders (or at least work to become one). This week’s article is going to talk specifically about this so stay tuned.

Etido Paul   |   31 July 2014   |   Reply

This is awesome. First, I think we all should know that the most effective form of leadership is self-leadership. You must be able to lead yourself first to wherever your destination is, before thinking of leading others. The worst form of leadership is positional leadership. Such leadership role, poses consequences of not acting according to set-rules, rather than encouraging people to live up to responsibilities. This is why when ‘they’ step down, their influence steps down with them. Their influence isn’t substantial. True leadership entails a long term change, not just in structures or systems, but in lives. When lives are changed, systems fall in line with the changed lives. Positional leaders make rules in order to rule. True leaders change lives; knowing that when rules fail; systems don’t. It is true that some leaders are ‘wired’ to lead. But even when they do not develop the inherent skills of leadership, it dies. In the other hand, any one who ‘wants’ to lead, can learn and acquire leadership skill. Accordingly, whether you are ‘wired’ or not, you ‘can’ lead, better than those who think the our born leaders.

Susan Mazza   |   31 July 2014   |   Reply

You said so many rich ideas in your comment Etido. Thank you!

In particular I loved this line of thinking from your comments…”Positional leaders make rules in order to rule. True leaders change lives; knowing that when rules fail; systems don’t.” And I’ll add that when commitments drive behavior rather than rules leadership is evident.

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