We are often asked the question if great leaders are born or made. And our answer is always “well it depends….”. It’s not a cop out, hear us out.
When we use the word leadership we usually include the practices of both leadership AND management. And a great leader needs to have a bit of both.
As leadership is about influencing others, leadership is largely about behaviours. BUT there also needs to be a certain amount of structure, follow-up and action (=management). A great leader can connect with and influence others to want to give it their best at any time, but they can also make sure things happen according to plan and expectations.
And let’s face it, some people will be better at relating to others, whilst others may be better at putting together a good plan and deliver to it. Some of these capabilities are natural talents, whereas other things need to be worked at. No one is best at everything. We have found that the best leaders are often those that are able to make the most of their natural talents. This is often referred to as Authentic Leadership, meaning that there is an honesty in there, that the person is true to their own character and build on that to be able to influence others in a positive way. And the best leaders are of course also good at just making people feel seen and heard.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
So, great leaders – born or made? There are natural born leaders out there who can seemingly effortlessly rally the troops and make them want to give it their all, but we have also seen many, many leaders who have worked hard at relating to people to be able to influence authentically in that way. And it often starts with developing the ability to listen and understand the person/situation. We’ll come back to this subject next week – and get practical about how to do just that.
OK, coming back to our original question now – who was the best boss you ever had? And what did they do that really made a difference to YOU? What is it that they did that made the biggest difference to you and how did t make you feel?
We would love to hear, and welcome your comments below.
About the authors
Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.
Their latest book ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions” is out now, published by Financial Times International.
Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”This book is a 21st-century guide on how to build a world-class team. I highly recommend it” Steve Siebold, Founder, Mental Toughness University, Florida USA.