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This post addresses if leaders are born or made.

As a counter-argument to training leaders, organizations spend billions of dollars on leadership training every year. Some believe that much of this effort to train leaders is probably a waste of money; this position is based on two very basic assumptions that underlie leadership training.

The first assumption is that we know what leadership is, and yet we do not. Experts cannot agree if it is a trait, a characteristic, a behavior, a role, a style or an ability. The second basic assumption is that we can train people to lead. We do seem to be able teach individuals about leadership. Unfortunately, findings indicate we are not so good at teaching people how to lead. Apparently, some people may not have the right personality traits, and there is no evidence that individuals can substantially alter their basic leadership style. Additionally, the complexity of leadership theories makes it nearly impossible for any normal human being to assimilate all the variables and be capable of enacting the right behaviors in every situation.

The second basic assumption is that we can train people to lead. The evidence here is not very encouraging. While we appear able to teach individuals about leadership, findings indicate we "cannot" teach people to lead due to several possible explanations. To the degree that personality is a critical element in leadership effectiveness, some people may not have been born with the right personality traits. A second explanation is that there is no evidence that individuals can substantially alter their basic leadership style. A third possibility is that, even if certain theories could actually guide individuals in leadership situations and even if individuals could alter their style, the complexity of those theories make it nearly impossible for any of us to assimilate all the variables and be capable of enacting the right behaviors in every situation.

What is your reaction to these arguments?

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1st:

While there may be no evidence that people can alter their basic leadership style, this also implies that there is no evidence showing that it would be impossible to do so, either. Leadership is a combination of qualities, and it would not be reasonable to say that there is any person that has been born completely lacking all of these qualities. Due to the extensive nature of the qualities that make up a great leader, all people have the qualities needed. Some people are able to develop the qualities to a greater extent throughout their lives, and others are not given the opportunity, so the qualities that are essential to leadership lay dormant. The qualities haven't gone ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides a very detailed discussion with references determining if leaders are born with their characteristics and qualities or if they are made through education, society, and training.

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