Do you think we choose to be born? Or are we fitted to the times we are born into?” Daniel Day-Lewis, playing Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln,” asked this question.

How often have we heard the question asked, “Are leaders born or made?” Which one is correct? Better yet, why does it even matter? Either way, great leadership at all levels is in great demand.  What society needs is great leadership and they want to know, “Who Can Lead?”


Everywhere we look there is a new leadership “fad.” Do this and don’t do this leadership… It would seem there is a deficiency in general leadership ability among “leaders.”  And you know what… that is more than likely the correct assumption. (Note: Leadership is not about your position or title. Please change this mindset if you believe this to be true. Change it for the good of others and yourself. As I have stated before, these “leaders” only lead the minds. They never lead the hearts.)

Leadership gets complicated. Leadership depends on where and what the situation is and it is not the same across the board for everyone. Just because this leadership “theory” worked in or at one place and time does not mean it will work at another. There are too many variables… But, understand this… It is the challenges that determine a leader, not if they were born or made. Leaders who overcome challenges do so through personal experience and knowledge of situations. They observe others or learn from their own past situations. Great leaders develop a mental portfolio of what has and has not worked in their past and they make use of it.

Our opinion of what great leadership is and what it should look like differs from what others think. Leadership is not a fine-tuned set of ideas and beliefs. When we start to believe we can “box” leadership up and “sell it,” leadership starts to be vague and less effective.  Now, this is not to say that we cannot learn from new ideas, but… At the end of all, leadership is relative. What might be true for you is not necessarily true for me.

It is not a question of if you were born or made as a leader. The question is, can you lead?

So… Who can lead?


Actually, you can… Just decide to.

All you need is a servant-heart, humility, an open-mind, and an opportunity. We cannot control the “when” but we can control what we do with the “when.”



©2017 J Clay Norton

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