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Leadership myth 2: Is there such a thing as a born leader?

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The second myth we examine is a common cliché that great leaders are so because they are a born leader. Reality dictates that everyone has innate leadership qualities. Therefore one would be accurate if they were to say we are all born leaders.

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The problem is that we do not learn to use our innate leadership skills until we are forced.

Susan B. Anthony led the women’s movement in the mid-19th century. Even though she was a great leader of that movement it was not her first leadership opportunity. Those would be as a school teacher and a student at a Quaker seminary for women. But it was the injustice she saw that spurred her to take up the leadership role in this movement because nobody else was fulfilling that role.

George Washington and Nelson Mandela were also leaders of great movement. But like Anthony they did not start out as leaders. Instead they stepped up to fill a leadership void.

Just as every infant is born with the ability to swim but must still learn again outside the womb, leaders are born with the leadership skills but true leaders are made, not born, when they are forced to hone those skills for a cause (or job) they love.

© Max Impact, used with permission.

Recommended books about workplace cultures

Additional resources about cultures

  • Culture Bridges are a look at the contents of the character within each of us. Information is contained on more than 20 different categories of culture.
  • Cultural Faux Pas is an interesting quiz about marketing mistakes made by others.
  • Culture Quizzes allow you to test your cultural IQ with fun and informative quizzes.


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