Butler County Times Gazette
  • Becky Wolfe: Can you be a born leader?

  • Can you be a person who is born for leadership?
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  • 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.
    Page 2 of 2 - 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 info@leadershipbutlerinc.org or visit the Leadership Butler website at www.leadershipbutlerinc.org
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