Are Leaders Born?

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The unexplainable life question of whether or not leaders are born or made is definitely not a dinner conversation. The brain is one of the most underestimated and misunderstood pieces of anatomy that are in constant research and discovery today. Essentially, the way one thinks, reacts, and prepares is the backing of an excellent leader. But how does one accumulate the knowledge and the instinct to act with such information? Lets dive into the idea that a great leader can be made, created, and/or born. Because we are human, and human nature has its many ways of impacting people differently, we can assume that not every historical leader was given the opportunities, chances, and genetic makeup of their predecessors. Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo didn’t have a family history of successful leaders or businessman, but he explored every avenue or opportunity early on in his life which made him a great leader (Goldschein, 2012).

First, we look at the idea of leadership involving genetic makeup and wiring of the disposition. Research by a leading military academic claims to have put the debate on whether it is nature or nurture which creates greatness to bed after finding the most effective really are a breed apart, and have brains that are wired differently to most. Scans of 103 volunteers from the US Military Academy at West Point, ranging in rank from officer cadet to major, found neural networks in the frontal and prefrontal lobes of those deemed ‘leaders’ were different from the rest. These areas of the brain are associated with self-regulation, decision making and memory (Williams, 2013). Genetically, a person must posses the ability to strengthen his or her mind to become a successful leader. Without good genetics the tools required to become an excellent leader would otherwise be nonexistent. The capability of the person dictates the capacity to which the person carries the ability to be a leader.

On the other side of the spectrum, without the proper environment and self-awareness, the ability to cultivate the proper intelligence and leadership skills wouldn’t exist. The way a person is cultivated is highly important in the way a person thinks and reacts. The single most powerful way to become a leader is to be self-aware. Becoming truly self-aware means to cultivate, on a daily basis, an accurate sense of how you show up in the world and what motivates you.  For instance: What are your actual strengths and weaknesses as a leader and as a person?  What impact do you have on others? What do you care most about?  What’s your moral compass, and do you use it as a guidance system?  And, how closely do your actions line up with your promises? (Anderson, 2012). These questions are the forms to which our minds are developed over time. Acknowledging you strengths and weakness’s help you to become a better person. By acknowledging them you are allowing yourself the ability for self-improvement and discovery. Every great leader leads by example, but also learns from experience.

Interestingly enough, we understand the importance of brain mapping, but to only a certain degree does it actually illustrate the overall outcome on how one develops a strong memory and understands self-discovery. A good leader requires good decision making skills, self-awareness, and an acute memory. Without the ability to genetically develop the proper intelligence a person cannot poses the ability to lead. Without the ability of self-awareness and understanding a person cannot poses the ability to lead. Leaders are derived from a combination of aspects and variables, such as genetics and conditions. The combination of these conditions, along with environmental influences, allows people to constantly develop professionally in a leadership role. A person isn’t born a leader nor are they created one. Leaders are living proof that with the right circumstances, ability, and understanding; self-improvement is just a stone skip throw away from leadership.


Anderson, E. (2012, November 21). Are leaders born or made?. Retrieved from

Goldschein, E. (2012, February 01). 13 people who came to america with nothing and made a fortune read more:

Williams, A. (2013, April 12). Great leaders are born, not made: Their brains are just wired differently, scientists say. Retrieved from