Are Leaders Born or Made?
One of the common questions asked regarding leadership is this, “Are leaders born or made?” And the answer is, “Yes!” Here’s my expanded answer to this challenging question — The 3 B’s of Making Leaders!
Born – Some people are hard-wired with God-given temperaments, intellects, and natural abilities that will give them the ability to influence others more easily as leaders. While this God-given ability does allow for easier influence, it does not necessarily mean that the quality of their leadership is better than others who are not so naturally endowed. These “natural leaders” will also need to grow in their leadership skills in order to utilize these natural strengths to their optimum.
Born Again – Some followers of Christ have the God-given spiritual gift of leadership. In Romans 12:6-8 we have Paul listing several of the spiritual gifts given for serving others in the Body of Christ. He says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
It is my understanding that all believers in Christ are given at least one spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit. These gifts are given to us that we might serve others (1 Peter 4:10). Those ‘gifted leaders’ who have the spiritual gift of leadership will have ability and capacity to lead in other ways than those not gifted will. But these ‘gifted leaders’ also must develop this leadership gift through careful attention to becoming the best leader they can be for Jesus’ sake. Note Paul’s reminder to Timothy, ” For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands ” (2 Timothy 1:6).
Built – There are certain leadership competencies or skills that can be learned and developed by everyone. Through practice, feedback, and application everyone can learn to lead to some extent. Husbands can learn to lead their families, parents can learn to lead their children, and employers can learn to lead their employees. Though all can learn to lead, the quality of one’s leadership will depend upon our attention to this development. When compared with others who are the natural or gifted leaders one’s leadership capacity may be less or one may have to work harder to grow in leadership competencies, but you can learn to lead. In fact, your leadership may surpass those natural or gifted leaders who do not develop themselves.
So….are leaders born or made? The answer is, “Yes!” Some are born, some are born again, and some are built! Are you taking your development as a leader seriously? Are you seeking to “fan it into a flame?”