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The age-old leadership development question – are leaders born or made? Some experts argue that while people can be born with leadership traits, a leader is made through training and leadership development experiences.

But is there a difference between someone who has leadership skills and a true leader? The ‘Leaders are Made’ group says, “No.”

Those on this side of the argument say that there is no way a person can be born with all the necessary traits and characteristics to be a true leader. They contend a person can be born pre-disposed with the features that make a person ripe for leadership, but that leadership development is still needed.

In fact, this is where most experts seem to settle. Most research shows that leadership is 1/3 ‘born’ and 2/3 ‘made’.

This is amazingly wonderful news for those of us who specialize in helping others strengthen their leadership development skills and for the ones who are practicing leadership skills training. And interestingly, the traits mentioned as common to a great percentage of leaders are also those that make a great entrepreneur!

According to Psychology Today, leadership traits are the tendency of one to be:

A Risk-Taker
Socially Intelligent
Empathetic and insightfulespecially when it comes to figuring out how to connect with followers and identify what they want from their leaders

But what if you don’t have these traits? Does that mean you can’t ever be a leader or entrepreneur? Absolutely not! That’s where a good leadership skills coach comes into play.

The right leadership skills coach can teach you how to be more confident in the traits you already have and then help you with the self-empowerment that is necessary to develop the others. For example, you can be taught how to achieve greater focus, accomplish more, and be more effective at overcoming challenges. These things too, are traits of good leaders.

So take heart and take charge… Whether you are a ‘born leader’ or someone who needs a little help to become a ‘leader who is made’, in the end, a leader is a leader.

Be a leader or become a leader—whatever it takes. After all, we know that – the innate drive to do whatever it takes in any situation – may be the most important characteristic of a leader over and above anything else.


Susan Sly is a best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.


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