Are Leaders Born or Made?

25 Mar

This week’s post is another installment of what we discussed last week, namely identifying future leaders. This post is a guest post, however, written by Glenn Matlock. (If you would like to write a guest post, just email me at kris AT trinitywallawalla DOT org). Here’s Glenn’s thoughts, which I hope will spark some good discussion:

In follow-up to previous threads regarding identifying potential leaders, there is an interesting debate that lingers: are leaders born . . . or made? Certainly, there are several who hold opposing views on this subject. Jim Collins describes the traits of what he terms, “level 5 leaders,” in his book, Good to Great. This seemingly implies that some defining leadership traits are both rare and innate (something only a few possess).

However, James Kouzes and Barry Posner espouse an altogether different perspective in their landmark book, The Leadership Challenge. According to Kouzes and Posner, “leadership is not the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It is a process ordinary people use when they are bringing forth the best from themselves and others. When the leader in everyone is liberated extraordinary things happen.” They further conclude that leadership is not “the private property of the people we studied or of a few select shining stars. Leadership is not about personality; it is about behavior. The Five Practices [of exemplary leadership] are available to anyone who accepts the leadership challenge.”

What do you think?

Are some born with greater potential to lead than others? In other words, are some meant to lead while most are meant to follow?

Or is it possible that there is a leader waiting to be activated within everyone?

And are there any “third solutions” (neither “born” nor “made”) to this dilemma?

Moreover, is it healthy for everyone to pursue leadership? Why or why not?

Most importantly, what are the implications for ministry in the local church?

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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized



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