The question of whether leaders are born or made has plagued many people in leadership for decades. So far, there is no definitive answer to the question that can be successfully proven since if leaders cannot be made, the main focus should be on genetic factors (Boerma et al., 2017, 2). On the other hand, if leaders can be made, it means a lot to the industry that has emerged over the years for leadership consultants.
The debate about leaders being made or born has caused different results in lines of thought while people different sides with specific claims. As far as the debate is concerned, the contention that leaders are born rather than made is invalid. Primarily, the discussion argues against the idea that leaders are born and supports the notion that they are made. Thus, this paper aims to examine the question and provide insights on different leadership theories towards both views.
The definition of leadership to adopt in this paper is; a process whereby a person influences others to accomplish set goals and objectives by guiding cohesive and coherent direction. According to Gandolfi and Stone (2018, 261), leadership is defined as the process of influencing a group of individuals in specific ways to achieve goals. With that, the definition provided by the authors is and resonates with the previous one. Typically, there are multiple leadership models and countless definitions.
Different authors assert that human beings have been interested in leading and becoming leaders and great philosophers or thinkers have wrestled with the concept for an extended period. Gandolfi and Stone (2017, 20) give an insight into the origin of the word leader, which first appeared in the English dictionary in the 1300s. The meaning imposed by the term leader is showing the way. Thus, leaders are people who show new ways towards a purpose.
A leader refers to someone who leads or commands others. Leaders see how situations can be improved and rallies individuals to act towards better visions. Leaders work together with teams to make their vision a reality while holding people’s needs into considerations. Leading people requires embracing unique approaches and personalities that distinguish a leader from another person. Usually, different leading methods can be adopted by people, including charismatic, transformational, transactional, democratic, supportive and autocratic. Any leadership style adopted exhibits different characteristics of a person. For example, those who apply democratic leadership are characterised by the ability to involve teams in decision-making, unlike autocratic leaders who lead with authority.
In leadership, teamwork, followers, the structure of an organisation, corporate culture are crucial to building an effective approach towards a vision. A leader cannot make it alone; without followers, dynamics set by teams create a unique culture to which every person must conform to work as a team. Unlike managers who have individuals to work for them, leaders have people who follow them (Allan, 2019, 2). Leadership qualities must reside in a person so that the business can be successful. In most cases, company owners exhibit both roles of leaders and managers to get the team on board and make people follow them towards vision success.
The leadership and management styles mentioned are equally relevant because they build organisational culture and practices that stand out before other businesses (Warrick, 2017, 2). However, their effectiveness differs because some styles have over exercises of control and power that could produce negative or positive results. For example, in democratic or transformational leadership, employees are motivated and inspired, unlike in autocratic leadership, where power control may inflict fear and inability to share decisions.
Leadership and Management Theories
As pointed earlier, there has been significant interest in studying leaders, and this is a way to analyse their attributes, examining characteristics that can be understood and emulated. Thus, by looking at these key elements or features of particular leadership, the features identified can be helpful to make individuals uphold leadership qualities. Different theories have been applied to support that leaders are made, including behavioural or trait approaches. The trait theory began in the 20th century, concentrating on critical personal characteristics that make leaders unique from others (Madsen, 2001, 8; Elearn, 2009, 60). Examples of attributes related to leadership include responsibility, status, self-confidence, energy, initiative, emotional intelligence, pragmatism, knowledge, fluency of speech and stress tolerance.
On the contrary, the great man theory is another model that highlights the heroic act of a person and what makes a leader stand out from others. In this theory, it is taken that there is something exceptional about a person’s combination of qualities, personalities and abilities that sets them as great leaders. In its foundation, the great man theory is relevant to the notion where businesses have long turned to people who can inspire others to achieve goals while motivating and supporting them (Miller, 2021, par. 2). The model considers traits, and its limitation involves a lack of focus on individual behaviours. Thus, the theory experts who support the great man theory and claim that leaders are born with exceptional qualities to fail to inform features that mould organisation leadership and performance.
Arguably, the most dangerous assertion is that leaders are born and genetic factors to leadership. The myth infers that people either have some charismatic qualities or do not. Such a notion is reputable, with the opposite being true that leaders are made and not born. Experts point out that great leaders have emerged over time, and throughout history, there are many instances of such. For example, in modern times, there have been leaders such as Nelson Mandela or George Washington. According to the great man theory, such people were somewhat naturally skilled and would revolutionise the world in specific ways (Miller, 2021, par. 2). To popularise this mode, people have claimed that great men are products of society and their actions are impossible without prevailing social conditions before them.
To disagree with the great man theory of leaders being born, experts point out that the genesis of great leaders depends on the complex influences. Social factors produce elements such as race which a person appears, and social state where race slowly grows. Before those great men could remake society, they had been impacted. In other words, the community in which a leader is brought up prepares him or her to be a leader and take experiences to lead or reform society for the better.
Thus, the assertion that leaders are born, based on the ground of the great man theory, is reputable. Furthermore, the great man theory is limited by a lack of scientific validity and considers individuals in power. Moreover, not all people who possess the perceived natural qualities of leadership become great leaders. Suppose leadership was an inborn quality, then everyone who owns vital traits would find themselves in leadership roles, which is not the case.
An interesting notion can be drawn to show how leaders are made like anything else, for instance, through hard work. Parallels to draw along with that notion is music, such that there are talented performers or singers who, despite lack of training, can perform excellently. Most people may not consider that the singer might have been brought up by the singer parents, listened to a lot of music and was surrounded by influences that gave inadvertent informal training. Every person has talents, but it takes hard work to grow their potential. With that, suggestively, any person has the ability and can grow or develop into a competent person. People’s preferences influence how fast development takes place and what areas to build.
Behavioural leadership models assume that leaders develop while learning leadership skills. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the model point that there is need such as external esteem and self-actualisation (Miller, 2021, par. 5). The latter is the urge to become what a person is capable of and has the potential to become. The growth of growth and self-contentment infer ways in which people change. In transformational theory, the source of a leaders’ power is within the behaviours he exemplifies, such as inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, consideration and idealised influence (Elearn, 2009, 64; Miller, 2021, par. 6). The behaviour practices adopted by such leaders make them unique from others who can use different approaches to influence people.
Kurt Lewin’s model of behavioural leadership supports the idea of how leaders become remarkable than others. In this approach, there are styles that include democratic, autocratic and laissez-Faire types of leaders (Miller, 2021, par. 5). Autocratic make decisions as dictators and do not consider matters with the team. The benefit of this is that decision-making is faster, but there is a limitation in ideas, alternatives, opinions, suggestions to views.
Democrat leaders seek input from the team before making decisions. The advantage of that is building loyalty in the team, a wide selection of options and clarifications. In Laisses-faire, leaders allow people to do what they chose without interfering. Based on these notions, great leaders will adopt the best style that has more advantage to the organisation’s performance and goal accomplishments. The potential to use the most effective approach depends on a person’s ability to learn the differences.
In analysing the actions of people in health, wellbeing and social care settings, the most applicable models are behavioural-based to determine how to interact and intervene in given situations. For example, servant leadership is applicable in the healthcare setting to focus on the needs of others before considering owns. Using this model, various perspectives can be explored, and individuals are given support to achieve goals in the right manner.
For example, nurse leaders who apply servant leadership will put the interest of patients and staff to ensure there is enough support in providing quality care for better outcomes. As such, the leaders pay attention to what employees need to accomplish the overall goals of patients’ wellness. By doing so, nurses learn from their leaders to prioritise the needs of others at an individual level. The actions of servant leaders make teams feel that they matter since they are considered, and when encouraged to work hard, there are overall benefits to the organisation, such as task accomplishment and goals of safe health.
Approach to leadership and management should emulate behavioural traits that inspire, motivates, guide and direct people to the right path. Great leaders can achieve that by determining the best approaches that would serve people needs at best (Madsen, 2001, 9). Leadership is a set of skills that can be learned, perceived, or practices. In interacting with people, leaders and manger should exemplify traits that teach and develop followers. Potential problems that may arise in relation to people in organisations include lack of clear directions, poor communication, lack of awareness and difficulties in blending personalities. As a leader, solutions to such issues involve setting clear goals, establishing communication paths, giving feedback, motivating and inspiring people to accomplish set targets.
Experiences of Leadership and Management in Healthcare Settings
Leadership is a vital factor, and businesses have no chance to achieve goals without the value of great leaders. Such is true in the healthcare industry, where there are people, resources and processes that must be led or managed effectively to attain the desired outcomes. Organisations with skilled leaders witness innovation, quality and productivity increase. I renovate with this notion because a culture that motivates employees and empowers teams can transform care settings. I manage and lead people towards task accomplishment by emulating vital skills, approaches and decision-making styles. My primary focus is to build an effective team, create positive working culture, foster innovation and envision desired visions in leadership.
Great leaders carry visions that must be communicated to others for overall performance. Since all leaders can be visionary, what makes a leader unique from another is how well a person approaches the future through strategies and activities. As a leader, communication is the key where feedback is provided to the team to ensure there are no rooms for errors. As argued that leaders have inborn personalities that make them excellent, I doubt if every person would manage to determine people’s needs and know what to do to meet them adequately. Moreover, it is unlikely that every leader will be able to communicate the vision without knowing how to go about it. I believe leadership skills are paramount and can be developed through studies or observing the changing circumstances.
I take it positively to be managed or led by another person since I am a good listener who believes people have the capabilities to do things in better ways than others. I appreciate a dynamic workplace where colleagues work as a team. I prefer clear directions on projects from managers or leaders because I have the ability to meet them on time through collaboration. The latter is an essential skill that is acquired through learning and practices. In my organisation, working with diverse healthcare providers and patients, I have mastered how to communicate and interact with people. Such ability allows me to collaborate effectively, know when to work independently and bring the work to the table with the entire team.
Recalling the notion that great leaders can use leadership styles effectively to become outstanding before others, I must admit that different leadership and management approaches impact me. In situations where decisions require to be made and implemented without back-and-forth discussions, I am compelled to exercise exceptional leadership styles such as authoritarian. For example, to young workers or new nurses, this style effectively provides directions, assignment of specific tasks and establishes clear and actionable standards. On the contrary, in case of consultations are needed, especially in reaching out for evidence-based information, a different leading style such as participative leadership can be emulated. The perceived challenge is adaptability to situations that requires me to embrace different leadership and management styles.
In-Depth Evaluation and Analysis
The notion leaders are born or made is majorly contested, with theories providing support on each side. According to studies conducted to prove whether leadership is a genetic factor, researchers focus on specific DNA markers that might be involved in influencing leadership (Boerma et al., 2017, 2). One study determined that the dopamine as transporter gene is involved in impacting leadership roles. On the other hand, it is claimed that people with this type of gene are more likely to show moderate rule-breaking patterns, crucial to becoming a leader. In this assertion, successful people such as Steve Jobs or Jack Welch started revealing rule-breaking behaviour at their early age and become industry leaders later. On the contrary, the gene was observed to associate with a lack of planning, perseverance, or self-control, which are critical components in leadership (Gautam, 2019, 36).
Studies assert that whether individuals have genes that influence leadership abilities, environmental factors play a major role (Warrick, 2017, 6). For example, where families and entities allow safe conditions to encourage people’s innovative behaviours and self-regulation, the influence of genes could be possible.
Implication for most people is that leadership is practised and learned, regardless of biological factors. Parents, trainers, institutions and educators create a learning environment where growth opportunities are available to enable people to grow as leaders and realise their leadership potential fully. In application, people lead by examples and through this might be considered a natural-born trait; examples come through experiences. Scholars point out that an excellent leader must know what follows want and what hinders or limit people from fulfilling their desires (Boerma et al., 2017, 2).
In leadership, people never stop learning as most organisations have professional development programs to build skills in the career through learning (Castillo, Sánchez and Dueñas‐Ocampo, 2020, 332). Self-motivated people consider embarking on personal leadership development strategies. On the other hand, employers implement leadership curriculums programs to give people a starting point of a leadership learning journey to the starters.
Following the notion that leaders are made from behavioural leadership theory, there need to be consistent behaviours or environmental factors that a person is exposed to. Leaders make themselves great and effective by the way they act or do. Behavioural groups are related to better leadership, including task and people-oriented (Gopee and Galloway, 2017, 204). In task-based, leaders focus on systems or systems that make people carry out the work and behaviours such as clarifying, organising, information gathering and initiating are exhibited. People-oriented leaders see the human needs of teams and motivate people throughout.
People-focused leaders behave differently in situations by approaching employees and finding out the root cause of a problem (Rennison, 2018, 191). In contrast, a task-based leader would look into the work process to see how a given situation can be resolved. Behaviours exhibited by people-oriented leaders include listening, observing, coaching, mentoring and encouraging.
At the intrapersonal level, behavioural-driven leaders will focus on their skills and intelligence to become great people. Self-awareness, reflection and introspection are paramount as the hallmark of intrapersonal competencies. Such practices reflect the behavioural aspect of effective leaders. Being good at recognising emotions and thoughts shapes individuals’ ways of acting and relating to others (Power and Dalgleish, 2015, 32). The approach takes confidence and humility; that is why individuals with low esteem find it hard to reach their full potential as leaders. Intrapersonal competencies of effective leaders involve prioritising tasks, creating resilience, building character, flexibility, inquisitiveness and cultivating a global mindset. Such attributes support the notion that leaders can be made by modelling self-behaviours.
The ideological aspect pertaining to the development of leaders and learning is that vital institutions, policies and programs help people build strong leadership skills that are outstanding. Leadership is embraced as a learning process in that there are some aspects to acquire as people move on (Castillo, Sánchez and Dueñas‐Ocampo, 2020, 329). In the modern world, there is a significant need to understand population and community needs to determine how to make decisions or initiate plans that will impact changes (Gopee and Galloway, 2017, 139). Such calls for the understanding of the environment and the discovery of the competencies necessary to excel. While people are accustomed to learning from those at the immediate range, there is a significant consensus that people need to learn from distant connections as there is the power to alert a wider body of knowledge.
In summary, this paper has looked at leadership and management and drew information from theories and insights into what makes great leaders. Based on support from modern theories such as the behavioural approach, this paper invalidates the assertion that leaders are born rather than made. Leadership is a learning process, and though some might argue that people are born with leading instincts, there are vital aspects that need to be acquired in the process. Continuously, people learn about behaviours and impacts on others, as positive developments are crucial to a self-leader.
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