Leadership: Innate or Acquired?

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Leadership can be more aptly defined as a process, a process of social influence in which an individual can draft the aids and gather support of the other people in order to achieve a common goal. Whenever we hear the word ‘leader’, the names that pop up in our mind would be of people like Martin L. King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Hitler etc. We have different perceptions of looking at a leader; some view him as a person who has the capability of getting lots of people to follow him, while for some a leader is the one who organizes things and tasks by looking into every aspect of the situations and its effect on the people who follow him. Both the images of the leader are correct since both of them correspond to the different styles of leadership. Styles of leadership?? Now what is it?

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Since every individual has different style of handling a particular situation so, based upon those styles of acting to a situation, there are different styles of leadership. Let us have a look at some of those. Some of the leaders possess authoritarian nature coupled with a visible softer side. At the times of requirement they do reach out to their employees and listen to their problems. This type of leadership style is known as engaging style of leadership. Then, some leaders are like Hitler, which like to possess absolute authority with them and are the only ones who decide. This is the authoritarian style of leadership. Some leaders like to take the opinions of their employees since they believe that the more the amount of brain storming involved in solving a problem the more meaningful and efficient solutions are arrived at and this kind of leadership is termed as democratic or participative style of leadership. Some leaders execute narcissistic type of leadership in which his only priority is himself and not his employees/followers. So, these all were the types of leadership a leader may possess.

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The next big question that often strikes in our mind is whether a person is required to possess qualities by birth that identify him as a leader or he can acquire those qualities if he wishes to with the passage of time. If we look into the subject matter, we have instances that partly support both the notions. Speaking on a personal basis, the qualities which a leader should essentially possess are ability to motivate and influence others, socially activated, general intelligence and common sense, emotional stability and unbiased nature. Now, if we have a glance on these qualities some of them are those that are in born like the intelligence of a person, his basic nature and emotional stability to a certain extent is also innate. Talking of the ability to influence others can be acquired to a certain extent by various experiences, being socially activated is a partial quality in the sense that certain people are by nature jovial, interactive while some develop their social skills by coming in contact and learning with a variety of people.

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Looking into the other aspect of the coin, it is sometimes the situations that give birth to the leaders. Mahatma Gandhi probably would not have emerged as such an efficient leader if he had not witnessed the racial discrimination and had not experienced it himself. It is a common belief that a leader is able to take wise decisions only when he has undergone that situation himself because only then is he able to know the pros and cons of the events which his followers go through. Experiencing those situations themselves is developed with the passage of time and is not instilled by birth. The more a person is made to handle different situations, the more his qualities are improved. They say people are born to be leaders and their leadership qualities are witnessed from the time when they are in their cradle. It is true that some of the qualities are inborn but in order to identify those qualities, it is very necessary to put the person into those types of situations which help them to identify their skills. There are instances as well where people are born in very influential families but they are not able to prove themselves efficient leaders as their ancestors were, so it is not at all necessary that you should be born with a silver spoon in your mouth in order to become an influential leader because whatever the case may be ultimately experience is required.

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Therefore, for all those who think that they cannot become good leaders since they are not born in influential family or family with great leaders as ancestors should not think so because here are some of the skills which can help them to become one. Studies that were carried out by the University of Kent enlisted some of the qualities which are essential for leadership. First and foremost, a leader should be able to motivate and direct others, if people have chosen to follow him and extend their support to him; he should ultimately take the responsibility for their actions. He should possess a positive attitude in taking up any of the situations and organize the tasks among his subordinates and manage them. He should never lose his perseverance when things are not working out and should never get frustrated and even if he is, he should never ever let that show in his actions. He should be flexible enough to accept the changes and should never be narcissistic in his attitude. these were certain qualities which can help one to become a good leader but the only way to acquire leadership is by practicing it; taking initiatives and by motivating people around. A good leader should always possess the kind of attitude in which he always says, “I was beaten” and he never says that, “My men were beaten.”

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Towards the end, condensing the entire article in a single line,

“If  your actions inspire others to do more, to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

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