Leadership Discovery: Leaders Aren’t Born, Leaders Are Made

by Joe Sullivan on November 18, 2010

Leadership is a subject that has intrigued me for the past decade. Having been a consultant to financial institutions for nearly 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside dozens of leaders in our industry. In recent years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about how the varying approaches, styles, characteristics and skills of leaders – both within and beyond the financial services industry – contribute to successes and failures of certain efforts or companies. A few years ago, I began trying to answer a simple question: What characteristics define a good leader?

In the process of answering this question, I developed a program called Leadership Discovery. This program is built around one fundamental idea: I believe that no one is born a leader. Rather, I believe that anyone can develop the skills and authentic qualities required of effective, transformational leadership.

At the end of September, The Economist published the article Homo Administrans, which discusses this important point:

“to what extent leaders are born, and to what extent they are made. Inborn leadership traits certainly do exist, but upbringing…matters too.”

Leadership Discovery is all about identifying, understanding, and enhancing five important leadership qualities: vision, passion, communication, connection and support. Skills relative to each of these qualities can be learned by anyone, and everyone has the capacity to enhance each of these qualities as an individual in an effort to become a more effective leader.

Leaders aren’t born, leaders are made.

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