The three most exciting days in my life have been March 7, 1987, April 19, 1989 and September 1, 1994. On those dates my three children were born—and I was there, an eyewitness to the miracle of three human births.
I remember staring down at those little pink, wrinkled, newborn packages of undeveloped potential, trying to imagine their futures. Clairvoyant I wasn’t. But I believed then and now that their futures would be determined less by their DNA (looks, IQ, or personality) and more by the formative support and encouragement they would receive and the individual choices they would make.
I believe the same to be essentially true for leaders. Let’s face facts. All leaders are born—but none are born leaders. Leaders develop over time, in stages much like babies. They must learn to crawl before they stand; stand before they walk; and walk before they run.
The best leaders learn to lead through the support and focused encouragement provided by experienced leaders. As an experienced leader, we should embrace the opportunity and professional responsibility to live out the credo: Each one, teach one.
But like children, young leaders also learn by experimentation—trial and error—absorbing their fair share of bumps and bruises along the way. All leaders make mistakes. The best leaders look for the lessons in those mistakes, making adjustments for the future and maturing accordingly.
Every day a leader is born. It is our privilege to help guide that individual along his or her path to learning to lead.
Discussion: Are Leaders Born or Are Leaders Made?
Today marks the beginning of a weekly series of discussions on the 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership. I would like to hear your opinions and comments so I invite you to join the discussion.
Please comment here or if you prefer, join the discussion in our Leaders Ought to Know group on LinkedIn.
Phillip Van Hooser
Leadership Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author – Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership