I recently attended a casual gathering of senior leaders, entrepreneurs, managers and potential leaders from a range of industries. We came together to discuss ‘What makes a good leader?’ and whether or not leaders are born or made.
As you can imagine robust conversation ensued.
My personal opinion is that leaders are born, but better leaders are nurtured.
The comparative example I shared with the group was my twin nephews. They are both five years old and vastly different. One is opinionated, passionate and decisive. He shakes off any detractors. He influences his brother and has a real sense of purpose. He is a leader. Nevertheless, it’s only through the years of experience and challenges that he will surely face that will shape him to be a good – or bad – leader.
This is just my view, comprised of a series of assumptions, which we also discussed.
We all have our own opinions of what constitutes a good leader. For some, a leader inspires people to follow. For others in the group, a leader inspires themselves first and foremost, and if others want to follow than that’s a bonus. While for some, a leader doesn’t have to manage or inspire people at all.
The key take away for me was that we all have different beliefs about what constitutes a good leader and who is best placed to be one.
This gathering of minds prompted me to keep my assumptions in check to ensure I don’t overlook the potential leaders that surround me. If I don’t, I might risk overlooking someone that doesn’t fit a particular mould or doesn't demonstrate 'classic leadership attributes'. And, wouldn’t that be a shame.