Are Leaders Born? Or Made?

Are leaders born or made?  Take a moment to paint a mental picture of someone you hold in esteem as a leader.  Focus on appearance, actions, habits and lifestyle.  Then ask yourself these two questions:

What specific personality traits does this person possess?  How does this person relate to others, professionally and personally?

This person, among other things, is probably a good communicator, motivator, mentor and coach; and someone who is decisive, courageous, determined and succeeds in achieving goals.  Now, ask yourself one more question:  Was this leader born with these well-developed leadership traits?  Emphatically, No!

The characteristics of leadership are developed – they are all qualities and skills that can be learned, improved and honed.

Expect the very best from yourself, for the degree to which you succeed in all aspects of your life lies in your hands.  You are the pilot of your own ship and the architect of your future.  Your ability to lead both yourself and others will enhance the quality of your work as well as your life.

Self-leadership is the ability to establish a specific direction for your own life, and to proceed in that direction with the self-confidence that comes only to one who knows where he or she is going.  Becoming a leader means becoming you.  It begins with figuring out who you are, and what gives your life value and meaning.

“Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory or defeat.” – President Theodore Roosevelt
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Genuine leadership is defined by heart, integrity, honesty, courage, compassion and those many intangible qualities of being and creating the most authentic person and leader that resides within each one of us. It takes time, awareness, knowledge and purpose to build our inner leadership and leadership in others. And, it takes grit. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable and show our true selves to the world; strength to speak our mind clearly and with confidence; empathy and compassion for ourselves and others while staying strong and determined; and the focus, faith and belief to do what we know is right even when it is the most difficult thing to do. Its a fascinating journey and one I have traveled for decades. The further I go, the more I realize how much I still need to learn and experience. It seems like just when I reach a new level of self-awareness, something comes into my life that reminds me I still have much to learn and many more levels to ascend. Exciting? Yes.

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A few weeks ago I had the fantastic opportunity to be interviewed by Peter Margaritis for his podcast, Improv Is No Joke. The interview was a blast, and we got into detail on some topics Im really passionate about: How The Leadership Challenge can transform cultures Why leadership needs love How i3 executive training develops exemplary leaders You can find my interview on any of the following: petermargaritis.com, Google Play, iTunes, or Stitcher. Comment below and let me know what you think. Happy listening!

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