Saturday, November 29, 2014

Leadership: Nature v. Nurture

Ohhh, the timeless debate, regarding much of our personalities are shaped by the way we were naturally created and how much of our personalities are shaped by our surroundings (parents, friends, community, upbringing, ect)? The timeless nature versus nurture argument. This is just my small and personally observed take on the big argument.

For the purpose of this blog, we will need to operationally define what our topic is going to be. We will tackle, debate, and/or discuss genuine leadership. I am not going to touch on management, other than to say that anyone, for the most part, can learn to manage a process. We will be discussing leaders, people who have gained your respect and trust.

I firmly believe that there are certain personality traits that come natural to leaders. Many people can learn these traits but only someone born with such traits possesses, understands, and utilizes the trait fully and to the utmost. Now, can I tell you what all of those traits are? No. I think everyone is still trying to figure that part out (which in many ways does not lend to my argument, but just go with it...) Some of those traits may be: (Some according to Forbes)

  • Learner: the ability to learn and make changes according to your environment, the love of learning
  • Communicator: the ability to communicate both in writing and orally effectively to ensure understanding, not necessarily agreement
  • Achiever: a drive to accomplish on a daily basis in both your personal and professional life
  • Confident: do not mistake this for pride, confident is knowing internally you are capable when others may not know or believe that you are
  • Inspirational: the ability to make people, places, and things better
  • Honest: being capable of sharing he truth although it may not be positive or pleasant
  • Ambiguous: dynamic and fluid, the ability to function when you do not know what is around the corner 
  • Committed: having a goal and achieving it, through easy and difficult times

Lets talk about learners for example, some people can learn how to learn. But leaders who are born learners, naturally learn to the point that they feel almost an unsettling and unrest when they are not learning. Further, in situations that require learning, a leader naturally born with such a trait, will unconsciously utilize it appropriately. However a learned learner will require conscious thought and cognitive input to appropriately utilize the trait. 

I guess the easy way to say it is that people who naturally possess some of these traits, can lead in a much more natural way. Almost as if I am saying, leadership comes naturally. Leaders who are born with these traits are literally hard wired in their brain's to think and process information a specific way that aligns with these traits. Therefore, you can teach a style of thinking/trait/or behavior to someone, but either 1 or 2 things happens: 1. It's extremely difficult to maintain because the brain loves its natural way of processing information or, 2. You revert back to ones old ways is thinking when situations become highly stressful or difficult.

But just keep this thing in mind... Leaders can either inspire you to greatness or lead you to destruction, but either way they are impactful. 

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