Niaz Uddin Sohel

Founder and President,

This conversation is closed.

Leaders are born not created.

What do you think about leadership? Are leaders born or created?

  • Mar 26 2012: I agree with Andrea, they are both, born and created.
    I would only add that anyone can learn Leadership skills but not everyone can use it.

    Being a leader you must first be follower.
    True leaders do not walk in the front, they simply follow the rest.
    Think of a shepherd act. A shepherd walks behind his cheep.
    It is not difficult to apply this kind of leadership in human leadership style,
    but it is not what happening today.

    Find out where your people want to go and motivate them to get there.
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      Mar 26 2012: Edwin, I do agree with you. These are amazing: 'True leaders do not walk in the front, they simply follow the rest.'

      Thanks for your time and comment.
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      Mar 29 2012: I agree the best leaders know when to follow.
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        Mar 29 2012: Yes! ::best leaders know when to follow::

        It could become a quote....:)
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    Mar 24 2012: Niaz--

    Both. Many natural born leaders were either unaware of their abilities, or reluctant to use them. Like all abilities, there is a wide continuum of what defines leaders. In any case, no man or woman stands on their own ability. Thus, to an extent, developing their abilities is implied.

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      Mar 24 2012: Hello Andrea, thanks for your ideas. The following lines are awesome:

      1. Many natural born leaders were either unaware of their abilities, or reluctant to use them
      2. no man or woman stands on their own ability

      Take very good care.
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    Mar 9 2012: There have been some great conversations on TED about Leadership. You can access them over on the left in RED letters "See all topics"....then click on "leadership".

    I will say this: Being an educator, I have seen children who have leadership qualities at age 5.....everyone follows them. I have also seen others, that as the years pass, they have become leaders in their own right.

    As adults, some, have had leadership thrust upon them, despite not wanting the role. Others, because they want money or prominence, seek leadership roles, not because they are any good at leading, but for the compensations involved.

    Leadership is very complex.

    In my opinion, some individuals have innate leadership abilities. When these individuals finally discover what they are passionate about, or find their purpose in life, they may be able to lead the way and excel in their field.

    I think the most effective leader though, goes about leading in such a discreet manner that noone really is aware they are being led...............that to me is the sign of a great leader.............he/she instills the spirit of cooperation in others, not looking for any credit or personal glorification.

    Be Well Niaz
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      Mar 9 2012: Thanks a lot Marry.

      Yah I have watched some videos of TED on Leadership.

      But after meting with hundreds professionals, entrepreneurs and journalist I have learned only BABY are born. For being a leader I have to understand the cause ...find out the solutions...hate to have courage to face challenges and have to communicate with the MASS for their benefits. But given that, there are something inherent. But shaping leadership in the way to cause is important to me. Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln are all great leaders. They came up with the solution of causes and helped the larger community that is really BIG.

      Thanks for your nice ideas regarding LEADERSHIP. Take very good care.
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        Mar 9 2012: Niaz....I just want to clarify something....I was not referring to TED talks.......I said TED conversations. Other TEDsters who have posed great questions on leadership and have received very insightful replies.

        I hope you "READ" through these conversations, under "leadership" in the popular topics on the left of this page in RED.

        Be Well,

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          Mar 9 2012: Oh sorry for the mistakes. Thanks. I will do so now...:)

          Take very good care.
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    Mar 6 2012: The only "leaders" I know of that are born leaders, are princes in a monarchy. The term "leader" is relative and no one is really born a leader for to be a leader you must lead. "Lead" is a verb, an action, and one does not do that at birth. Nature may have some influence on who a person becomes but just as Robert Winner mentioned here, it is contextual, and therefore Nurture has the biggest influence of all.
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      Mar 7 2012: Excellent logic, I agree. Anything born is made.
    • Mar 7 2012: A prince is not born with leadership, for the same reason you have given.

      Also, a leader doesn't exist as a leader before they are installed in a leading position.
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        Mar 7 2012: yeah that is why I put quotes around "leader" in that statement. Leaders can become leaders even when not installed. This is most common seen within peer groups.
        • Mar 7 2012: I'd argue that those leaders that you are talking about indeed are installed. A peer group is dynamic, and to become a leader of a peer group the leader has to get to know some of them, and they will need to want to stick together and accept the leader in the leading role. And even then it's very common to see that the leader often is challenged by an individual in the group that also may have leadership traits. To sum up, even if a leader takes her position because the rest are passive/don't object, it's still an installation.
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          Mar 17 2012: Glenn ! Right you are!
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      Mar 7 2012: Superb logic Glenn!
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    Mar 16 2012: First and foremost, we are all leaders !

    Any choices that you did or will do, engages yourself to make a decision, good or bad, fast or taking time to think it through.

    Leadership it's all about making choices, approching a situation giving, with wit and knowing is the best that you can do in that giving moment...the difference is, some of us, don't think, that their day to day choices is leadership, on the contrary, they think, being in an office, having a budget and employees make you a far from the truth!

    You are a leader, just acknowledge it!

    So to answer your question Niaz, leaders are born!
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      Mar 16 2012: This is truly inspiring 'First and foremost, we are all leaders !'

      I am in love with these words 'You are a leader, just acknowledge it! So to answer your question Niaz, leaders are born!'

      God has given a beautiful MIND!

      Thanks a lot Mireille Chéry . Take very good care.
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        Mar 16 2012: This is really kind of you Niaz, I receive it with humble heart!

        Be blessed alwayssssssssssss!
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    Mar 15 2012: To understand leadership I think we must begin with defining what it means to be a leader. I think a leader is anyone who is virtuous, that is anyone who is wise, wisdom can be interpreted as humility and creativity which are simply functions of perspective.With this in mind, I think that everyone has the potential to be a leader, this is because a true leader follows and allows just as much as she/he advises. In this way a flow of leaders and followers becomes a continuum where each realizes their temporal place.

    I haven't read all the posts here so I apologize if this has already been stated. The idea of a leader who points the way seems rather antiquated. However their are deep pockets of specializations and in some ways few people with a "general" expertise to connect these different fields. The question here is about communication, how we can be more cohesive and dynamic, a leader as a catalyst is certainly part of the solution but I think something less "spear headed" may be the next step.
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      Mar 16 2012: Dear Thadeus Frei

      The explanation that you have given over there is simple and amazing. Thanks for sharing your ideas regarding leadership. It will really be great to get some examples from you. Chill!
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    Mar 13 2012: I think, for someone to be a true and effective leader, an internal shift needs to occur within that person. This shift must cause the person to become altruistic and happy
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      Mar 13 2012: And any situation, any person, any event, any idea or moment can bring this 'SHIFT' and can play a major role of motivation...:) I do agree with you Kieran.
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        Mar 14 2012: this shift, this realization needs to come about in a personal way or in a way that has enough heft to completely convince the person to take on the leadership position.
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    Mar 12 2012: IMHO, every assertion according to which you inherit, get or receive an important trait of character when born is non sense: born a leader, an artist, a musician; whatever "born the Chosen One" that is. People can become what they want and choose to be and have to work hard for it. Yes, some may be more talented than others, but talent is nothing without practice, and practice, and practice...

    And no one "creates" leadership. It develops, it is a trial and error long and winding road.

    Or perhaps, the environment creates leaders, yes, that I believe.
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      Mar 12 2012: You have given so many nice points. Thanks for these ideas. And you are right ..:)
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    Mar 8 2012: Anyone can become a leader with the right words, timing, and following.
    Anyone can be an effective leader as well. Just because you are an effective leader, doesn't mean you are a good one.
    Hitler was effective but he was not "good" IMO
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    Mar 7 2012: In simple terms,for a leader to exist there must be followers. One is either a follower or a leader (in the limitless scope of what one can lead on and follow in). I believe essentially that leadership is of the HEART not the head and as such is powerful beyond the countless explanations which attempt to pin down this elusive term. I do think leaders can be born AND created; there is no formula. This is partly why it's such a beguiling subject. Some rise reluctantly through necessity while some strive for power through influence. It's a great question Niaz, one I consider everyday as I watch new leaders 'emerge' in the school I work in........both staff and students.
  • Mar 7 2012: "Born leader" is not a literal term, it's used to indicate that a person is extremely likely to become, or are leaders because they were born with the traits that generally are expected from a leader. "Natural leader" is a better term maybe, as it's meant to be interpreted in its literal sense.

    So if the question is "Can anyone but a natural leader be a leader?" then I'll say yes. Leadership is a skill and as such can be learned, although a natural leader with leadership training will probably be optimal.
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      Mar 7 2012: Awesome. Thanks. I have learned a great lesson from you.
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    Mar 6 2012: Most leaders are a product of a specific need, cause, or situation that has occured. The window of time is opened and the "leader" fills the requirement. In other times the same "leader" may have been considered a misfit and laughed at. In that context the "leader" is neither born or created. s/he is simply a tool used to hopefiully resolve the current existing problem. History has proven this choice was often not a resolution but the cause of more problems.
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      Mar 6 2012: I do agree. But in my life I have seen some leader those who are really born...some are created (made their own destiny by themselves). But the point 'Situation' is the base of leadership (i believe). Thanks Robert.
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      Mar 7 2012: Even the @ss of a dog sees the light of day and what would we do without them.
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        Mar 7 2012: OH yah! But it would be better to have clear explanation from you.
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      Mar 7 2012: Sorry my last post was too vague.

      Robert you really hit on something here. Permit me to paraphrase in order to explore your position; a leader is like an idea who's time has come. Not unlike some invention, his mother is necessity.

      Like most ideas his/her evolution to the position has been guided my many events, not all of which might be considered nurturing, but all of which culminate in some resolution on his/her part to take the stage.

      There is no guarantee that s/he will be able to accomplish what s/he has been elected (appointed) to do but s/he is the one appointed by good or ill to do the job. As such, his/her failure or success is the shared responsibility of s/he and who ever put him/her there.

      His/Her time is to be examined so as to provide example for coming generations. S/he is necessary, however worthless some might hold an opinion of him/her.

      And so s/he will have her/his day in the sun.
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        Mar 17 2012: Thanks for these ideas and clarification......:)
  • Mar 6 2012: How about taking the middle ground? Leaders have specific personality traits that may be inherited (I am no behavioral physiologist, but lets make that leap) and some that may be acquired. So it's a combination. To make matters worse, some leaders appear only if specific chain of events and factors allow them to flourish. Churchill's best hour came late in his life, Gates and Jobs were in the right place at the right time, etc.

    Too narrow of a statement...
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      Mar 6 2012: You are right. Sometimes situation makes the difference. Some of us actually can't understand our passion and natural talent earlier. So it takes time to flourish..Thanks for your comment...:)
  • Mar 6 2012: yeh, leaders are born not created..Training can sharpen the leadership skills if one has it inherently. One who is trained or created to be a leader has solutions for causes/situations he would have read in the books but is sure to collapse wgen faced with unforseen circumstances...
    Most of today' leaders belong to this latter category...
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    Mar 12 2012: True leadership should take place much less from the front, and more from the middle ground. The middle ground is the point at which a collaborative process is enabled, taking a led group in a direction of least resistance. Such a leader elicits respect from those they lead, because the developed relationship is symbiotic, mutually understanding, mutually supportive and therefore sustainable.

    In the kind of reality we have now constructed for ourselves, leaders who display sociopathic (and even psychopathic) tendencies are those who are given positions of most influence. This means that a given group will tend to be led in directions dictated by a single mind, a single ego, with little or no collaboration.

    For definitions of sociopathy and psychopathy, and their relationship to corporate leadership, please refer to this research by Dr Hare:

    In a society where people matter above everything else, collaborative leadership would dominate. In a society where 'things' matter more than people, non-collaborative leadership would dominate. I don't think you need me to spell out which kind of society we are living in right now!

    I don't think leaders are born. However, I do think a propensity exists towards empathy or sociopathy, is genetic, and further enhanced by parental and peer group nurturing. Which one would dominate through into leadership in adulthood I think would depend on the morphology of the reality framework we move about in at that particular time.
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      Mar 12 2012: Thanks for the long post Allan. I learned so many things from your ideas.
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    Mar 11 2012: what good is leadership if no one wants to be lead anymore? also leadership can be bought manipulated and influenced today what keeps them focused with unbreakable motivation?not born decision or no choice but to lead. hope I'm right?
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    Mar 9 2012: "A leader should walk behind his followers"

    Born a leader? Maybe, so what?
  • Mar 8 2012: Are leaders power and control freaks and egomaniacs?
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      Mar 9 2012: I think you can explain it nicely. Please write and share 'Are leaders power and control freaks and egomaniacs?'