Questions: Leaders are made or they are not born ?.


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Answers: They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.

Our culture would like to believe that there is a seed of leadership in everyone.


While there might be a bit of leader deep inside everyone, that does not make them a leader. People become leaders when they step forward and when they are accepted as leader by their followers.

In order to step forward, an individual needs to have the desire and drive to lead.

Research suggests that these factors are personality traits, long-lived and durable.  In order to be accepted by followers, a prospective leader needs to be perceived as a leader by the followers.

Traits such as intelligence, physical attractiveness and friendliness are traits that followers look for in a leader.

As much as we would like to believe that everyone can be a leader, the fact of the matter is that, fair or not, followers want a certain type of leader.  And like it or not, not all of us have the intelligence, drive or desire to lead.

What we all do have, however, is the ability to influence, to use acquired power to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Perhaps our desire for “small vertical leaders” that is, leaders who don’t lead from formal positions of power, but those who lead from influence and ability within a team, is driven by our need for more effective, engaged people, not by our need of leaders.


Leadership is about emotion

Make a list of the five leaders you most admire. They can be from business, social media, politics, technology, the sciences, any field. Now ask yourself why you admire them. The chances are high that your admiration is based on more than their accomplishments, impressive as those may be. I’ll bet that everyone on your list reaches you on an emotional level.



They all have it. They inspire us. It’s a simple as that. And when we’re inspired we tap into our best selves and deliver amazing work.

So, can this ability to touch and inspire people be learned? No and yes. The truth is that not everyone can lead, and there is no substitute for natural talent.


Leadership and Emotional intelligence. Great leaders understand empathy, and have the ability to read people’s (sometimes unconscious, often unstated) needs and desires. This allows them to speak to these needs and, when at all possible, to fulfill them. When people feel they are understood they respond better and a bond is formed.


Leadership demands continuous learning: Show me a know-it-all and I will show you someone who does not have a clue about being human. Curiosity and an insatiable desire to always do better is the mark of a great leader. They are rarely satisfied with the status quo, and welcome new knowledge and fresh (even if challenging) input. It’s all about investing in yourself.


Contextualize: Great leaders respond to each challenge with a fresh eye. They know that what worked in one situation may be useless in another. Before you act, make sure you understand the specifics of the situation and tailor your actions accordingly.


Let Go. Too many people think leadership is about control. In fact, great leaders inspire and then get out of the way. They know that talented people don’t need or want hovering managers.


Leadership is about influence, guidance, and support, not control. Look for ways to do your job and then leave the way, so that people can do theirs.


Honesty.  Not a week goes by that we do not hear about a so-called leader losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. Often this is because of pressure to try and “measure up” and it’s not coming from a place of being real – often this relates to fear of not being accepted for your true self.


We live in age of extraordinary transparency, which is reason enough to always be true to your core – your mission will be revealed, your motivations will show by your behaviors. But it goes way beyond this. It’s an issue that sets an example and elevates an organization. If you have a reputation for honesty, it will be a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges. You must inspire people from your heart? 


Kindness and respect. Nice leaders (people) don’t finish last. They finish first again and again. Ignorance and arrogance are leadership killers. They are also a mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level respect is an absolute must trait of leadership. And kindness is the gift that keeps on giving back.


Of course, there will be people who prove they don’t deserve respect and they must be dealt with. But that job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your organization, if you have a reputation for kindness, honesty and respect.


Leadership requires collaboration; People’s jobs and careers are integral to their lives. The more our organization can make our people our partner, the more they will deliver amazing results. This means, to the greatest extent possible, communicating our organization’s strategies, goals and challenges.


This builds buy-in, and again is a mark of respect. People won’t be blindsided (which is a workplace culture killer) by setbacks if they’re in the loop.


Partner with your people. As I said above, people’s careers are a big part of their lives. That seems like a no-brainer, but leaders should have it front and center at all times. We must find what our employees’ career goals are and then do everything we can to help them achieve their goals.


Leadership is both an art and a science. These tools are guidelines, not rigid rules. Everyone has to develop his or her own individual leadership style. Make these tools a part of your arsenal and use them well as you strive to reach people on an emotional level. Be Human. This Matters.

Bottom of Form

Although a lot of leaders are in fact also managers, being a manager doesn’t make one a leader, and being a leader doesn’t mean you’re automatically a manager.

Education and creativity provide the edge to greatness; facts and imagination make excellent companions for life and for business.

Business is organic, constantly growing and altering its colours as humanity evolves and turns its head to look for new answers.

“Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Such people cannot be forced into roles they are not suited for, nor should they be. Effective leaders allow great people to do the work they were born to do.”

Leadership and Emotional intelligence

This begins by knowing yourself. What motivates you? What drives you to want to lead? What pushes your hot buttons? You also talk about the need to contextualize-I like to refer to this as providing meaning by linking the vision to the goals of each individual to enable them to have a gut feel for how they will contribute.

If you then link the what we are going to do with past lessons on how to do them you have added the element of context. I believe that the elements you list as honesty, consistency, trust and respect are fundamental to being able to lead. I think trust is developed when you are honest (perhaps even vulnerable), when you respect others for more that just an asset to get a job done and you trust them. I believe that it will be reciprocated.

New and immature leaders struggle with collaboration and partnering. Being able to work with your team to establish “what” needs to be done and then letting go to permit your team to determine “how” to get it done is critical.

Most new leaders think they need all the answers. Indeed, they have all the answers resident in their team and they will engage more if they believe the solutions are “their” solutions, not the leaders. From there it is all about recognition for a job well done, constant and consistent feedback.

Emotional intelligence. What is it and how can we bring more of it into play? It is what sets good leaders apart from great leaders. This isn’t easy though in a demanding world that expects exceptional results all of the time.

With the stakes as high as they are, and numbers speaking for themselves, it isn’t always easy convincing leaders that the emotional side of leading will drive the results even more then the focus on knowledge and content. After all, if you’ve reached the leadership level, it should be a given that you have the knowledge.

On the contrary to all that is said about leadership there really is only one criterion. The effective leader is the one that succeeds with the task in hand. There might be contributing factors but they vary according to the task and frequently cannot be easily identified or quantified. There is the proviso that the great leader also provides recognizable benefits to those involved.


Many motivational experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. I would argue the exact opposite. I believe we are all natural born leaders, but have been deprogrammed along the way.


As children, we were natural leaders – curious and humble, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; we knew exactly what we wanted, were persistent and determined in getting what we wanted, and had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help us in accomplishing our mission. So why is this so difficult to do as adults? What happened?


As children, over time, we got used to hearing, “No,” “Don’t,” and “Can’t.” “No! Don’t do this. Don’t do that. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. No!” Many of our parents told us to keep quiet and not disturb the adults by asking silly questions. This pattern continued into high school with our teachers telling us what we could do and couldn’t do and what was possible. Then many of us got hit with the big one – institutionalized formal education known as college or university.


Unfortunately, the traditional educational system doesn’t teach students how to become leaders; it teaches students how to become polite order takers for the corporate world. Instead of learning to become creative, independent, self-reliant, and think for themselves, most people learn how to obey and intelligently follow rules to keep the corporate machine humming.


Developing the Leader in you to live your highest life, then, requires a process of ‘unlearning’ by self-remembering and self-honoring.


Being an effective leader again will require you to be brave and unlock the door to your inner attic, where your childhood dreams lie, going inside to the heart.


Today I want to talk to you about the ten (10) easy steps you can take to awaken the Leader in you and rekindle your passion for greatness:



1.     Humility. Leadership starts with humility. To be a highly successful leader, you must first humble yourself like a little child and be willing to serve others. Nobody wants to follow someone who is arrogant. Be humble as a child – always curious, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge. For what is excellence: Excellence is knowledge plus knowledge plus knowledge – always wanting to better yourself, always improving, always growing.


When you are humble, you become genuinely interested in people because you want to learn from them. And because you want to learn and grow, you will be a far more effective listener, which is the number one leadership communication tool.


When people sense you are genuinely interested in them, and listening to them, they will naturally be interested in you and listen to what you have to say.



2.      SWOT Yourself.

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Although it’s a strategic management tool, it can just as effectively be used in your own professional development as a leader. This is a useful key to gain access to self- knowledge, self-remembering, and self-honouring.


Start by listing all your Strengths including your accomplishments. Then write down all your Weaknesses and what needs to be improved. Make sure to include any doubts, anxieties, fears, and worries that you may have. These are the demons and dragons guarding the door to your inner attic. By bringing them to conscious awareness you can begin to slay them. Then proceed by listing all the Opportunities you see available to you for using your strengths. Finally, write down all the Threats or obstacles that are currently blocking you or that you think you will encounter along the way to achieving your dreams.


3.     Follow Your Bliss.  Regardless of how busy you are, always take

time to do what you love doing. Being an alive and vital person vitalizes others.


When you are pursuing your passions, people around you cannot help but feel impassioned by your presence. This will make you a charismatic leader.


Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, be it writing, acting, painting, drawing, photography, sports, reading, dancing, networking, or working on entrepreneurial ventures, set aside time every week, ideally two or three hours a day, to pursue these activities. Believe me, you’ll find the time. If you were to

video tape yourself for a day, you would be shocked to see how much time goes to waste!


4.     Dream Big. If you want to be larger than life, you need a dream that is  larger than you. Small dreams won’t serve you or anyone else. It takes the same amount of time to dream small as it does to dream big. So be Big and be Bold! Write down your One Biggest Dream. The one that excites you the most. Remember, don’t be small and realistic; be bold and unrealistic! Go for the Gold and not Silever always.


After you’ve written down your dream, list every single reason why you CAN achieve your dream instead of worrying about why you can’t.


5.      Vision.  Without a vision, we perish. If you can’t see yourself winning that award and feel the tears of triumph streaming down your face, it is unlikely that you will be able to lead yourself or others to victory. Visualize what it would be like accomplishing your dream. See it, smell it, taste it, hear it, feel it.


6.      Perseverance. Victory belongs to those who want it the most and stay in it the longest. Now that you have a dream, make sure you take consistent action every day. I recommend doing at least 5 things every day that will move you closer to your dream.


7.      Honour Your Word. Every time you break your word, you lose power. Successful leaders keep their word and their promises. You can accumulate all the toys and riches in the world, but you only have one reputation in life. Your word is gold. Honour it.



8.      Get a Mentor. Find yourself a mentor. Preferably someone who has already achieved a high degree of success in your field. Don’t be afraid to ask. You’ve got nothing to lose. In addition to mentors, take time to study autobiographies of great leaders that you admire. Learn everything you can from their lives and model some of their successful behaviours.


9.      Be Yourself. Use your relationships with mentors and your research on great leaders as models or reference points to work from, but never copy or imitate them like a parrot. Everyone has vastly different leadership styles. History books are filled with leaders who are soft-spoken, introverted, and quiet, all the way to the other extreme of being out- spoken, extroverted, and loud, and everything in between.

Be yourself, your best self, always competing against yourself and bettering yourself, and you will become a first rate YOU instead of a second rate somebody else.

10. Give. Finally, be a giver. Leaders are givers. By giving, you activate a universal law as sound as gravity: ‘life gives to the giver, and takes from the taker.’ The more you give, the more you get. If you want more love, respect, support, and compassion, give love, give respect, give support, and give compassion. Be a mentor to others. Give back to your community. As a leader, the only way to get what you want, is by helping enough people get what they want first. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” ■


Thank you,


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