Are Leaders Born or Made?

You know, one of the questions I keep on getting is, “Are leaders born or made?”  And my response is, “Both.”  I know some people who are just born leaders. They just show that quality that makes people want to follow them, that magnetism—some have it from the time they are young kids. But I also feel that leaders can be made. People can learn. That’s what our business is all about. And people should always keep trying to learn more, trying to get better, even those who are born leaders. So I tell people that leaders are born and made. And of course, our whole business is based on the belief that we can help people become better leaders. I think that’s especially true if they keep learning interesting, exciting new things. So always be a learner. I’m absolutely convinced. That’s our #4 value at The Ken Blanchard Companies, and it’s so important—learning. When you stop learning, lie down, because it’s over. Take care! Have a great learning day.

12 thoughts on “Are Leaders Born or Made?

  1. Hi Ken,

    I’ve always felt the more correct answer is that they EMERGE. Whether people are born with the talents to rally people to accomplish good things (or bad things, like terrorism), or whether those talents are developed through education and experience, at the end of the day, the only true leaders are those that step up to the plate and actually use those talents to produce meaningful results–I like to say that: “Leadership is a Contact Sport.”

    Chuck Georgo
    MCPO, USN, Ret.

  2. I totally agree. The arguement of whether leaders are born or made is valid and valuable; however, I am perplexed by individuals that chose one side over the other. I believe that we are born with a range of abilities and that training and discipline will affect where we end-up on that range. Natural given talents can also dwindle if not cultivated. It is our awareness of our strengths and weaknesses that allows for enhancement and cultivation. The leaders that rise to the top are those that are knowledgeable, effective, willing to take a risk, considerate of others and ethical. Some of these skills will come naturally to some of us but some must be monitored until they become second nature.

    Kathy Strand
    Professor, Army Management Staff College
    President, Perpetual Success

  3. My strong feeling is leaders are only made. this is true because all ideas cannot work in execution. So the wrong and right ones are only learn t using common sense, This experience cannot come through genes/hereditery/by birth. May be the rate of learning can be fast, can be at different stages in some people ‘s life.For eg: during the child hood they are taught to be bold braver, doubt free, fearless etc, but that does not mean they are born leaders. Also from the spiritual sense the Mind is a like a muscle and keep expanding in the direction we keep thinking. If this is true then Born leaders are not real born leaders, but we can say that they acquire enough leadership during the early stages of their life compared to learn leaders.

  4. leaders are born . if it is not why we have only
    one hitler,gandhi,einstin,nuton etc…for decades
    if leaders can be made we would have definately
    made another gandhi or hitler…
    to our surprise we are also like machines.
    we ware mad to become either a leader or a follower
    thats all…
    a toyota can never become a benz or vice versa..

    but mankind is afraid to accept this rather
    horrifying fact. … we chose to live in
    false world thinking that we can change ourselves
    if we want for good….

  5. “leaders are born ”

    we are like machines.

    we have, cars, jeeps, typing machines.
    buses…etc..among us…made for a particular
    a bus is a bus is a bus…it cannot
    become a car….

    you cannot become a gandhi or hitler…
    no matter how hard you try…

    let me know is there anybody under the
    sun who can take a boy of 5 years and
    make him a hitler or a gandhi…

    mankind, since it can think, likes to
    believe that one can change if likes to
    otherwise it cannot live…

  6. i really believ that leaders are both born and made.
    born leaders usually have to be guided to polish them up and make them great
    wheraas those that are made are usully out of necessity

    Kabungo Kamanga
    University of Zimbabawe
    InfoTech student

  7. A person may be born with the qualities of leadership he can never be born leader, he or she can only become a leader if he discovers that potential in himself and make himself to be one. A leaders can be espoused in the following way ways. His achievement,His Impact, and the level of his legitimacy that make hi accepted as a leader

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