It's not a new debate. Are leaders made or are they born?
You've probably heard during such discussions expressions like, "She's just got a gift for it" or "He's a natural." There's no denying that our DNA does impact a lot of our traits and characteristics, and some of those are more conducive to our becoming a leader. But I maintain that every single one of us has the seeds of great leadership within us, and I am not alone in this opinion.
In a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership to over 350 top-level leaders, only 69 respondents felt that leaders were made. The study concluded that all groups surveyed "overwhelmingly agree that people become leaders in large part as a result of experiences that help them learn how to be a leader." Most research on the subject finds that leaders are both born and made, meaning some innate qualities combine with hard work and result in effective leadership.
Whether you are born with those innate traits that would work for you in a leadership capacity or not, you will need to train, sharpen your skills, and learn how to become a better and better leader continually over time in order to succeed.
Only a few of us will do the work to discover those seeds of great leadership within us; even fewer will invest the time and effort necessary to reap a harvest of influence.
What do you think? Are you a born leader or a made one?