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What Defines A Good Leader?

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” George Patton


Often times, those who display a great ability to lead are referred to as “born leaders.” But, is this really true, or do these individuals simply have a deeper commitment to taking the reins and getting the job done?

Organizational consultant and author, Warren Bennis believes the latter to be true: “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”

Football Hall of Fame coach, the late Vince Lombardi agreed, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

Another belief is that leadership is “caught” as much as it is “taught.” That is, that leaders-to-be are inspired by what they experience. Moreover, they need to be given a chance to develop and prove their leadership skills.

Finally, there is the element of seasoning that grows leaders to accomplish the impossible. As Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Born or developed, leaders inspire others to lead, rather than follow.