Can you be a person who is born for leadership?

Are leaders born? This is a question that has been around for a long time and one that has been talked and written about with varying perspectives. Can you be a person who is born for leadership? I believe it comes down to how you define leadership. If you believe someone who is serving in a position of authority as a LEADER than your answer is probably, yes, they could have been born to be in that position.

Maybe the question could be is serving in a position of authority LEADERSHIP? Have you heard the comment “He/She is a great leader?” Take a hard look and define what makes them a great leader? Is it because of who they are and the position they hold or is it because of what they have done? Do we automatically make an assumption that a person is a LEADER because they are in a position that has authority? Or do we look at their work and then define them as a LEADER?

Are LEADERS born? I am going to use myself because that is what I know. I grew up on a small farm in Nebraska, with eight siblings, a stay at home mom and a dad that worked every day. Any of you that grew up in a large family can relate there is some jockeying of power within that dynamic. I was the second to youngest with very little power, I had to work at getting my point across. I went to school, got married and moved to Kansas. I began working for the Chamber of Commerce as a part time receptionist, with very little authority. My employer at the time saw something that I didn’t see and he cultivated and mentored me to take challenges that I would never dream about doing. I balked quite a bit and to this day remember a time he asked me to go on a radio show with Jean Plummer and all I can remember doing was giggling, I was way out of my comfort zone.

I began finding my voice and passion in that job. I took risks and developed skills to exercise leadership, but I wouldn’t have called myself a LEADER. As I began working for Leadership Butler, I became more involved in community organizations and even became the President of the Board of the same Chamber of Commerce I had worked. I don’t believe I was born to lead, but I developed skills and capacities to exercise leadership.

If you think about leadership as an activity, do those in positions of authority exercise leadership or are they born LEADERS? I was sitting by someone recently who was frustrated with a person and the way they were handling a situation that was quite heated. It wasn’t going very well and the person sitting next to me stated “this is why you can’t teach leadership”. I thought about that for the longest time and I believe they are right, you can’t “teach” leadership, but you can DEVELOP PEOPLE to exercise leadership, whether they are in a position of authority or not.

Not everyone is born to be in a position of authority, whether it is in public office or CEO/President of a company, but I believe that anyone can develop skills and capacities to exercise leadership from wherever they are.

 For more information, contact Becky Wolfe, Executive Director Leadership Butler at or visit the Leadership Butler website at