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Breaking The Myth: Are Leaders Born Or Developed? Yes!

This highly debated topic is reflected in business articles each year. We tenaciously cling to old beliefs on the one hand and indiscriminately embrace new beliefs on the other. Even when the old beliefs do not seem to be working, we often resist accepting new ones and even when the old way works just fine, we jump to the new one just because it is new; this ambivalence has a long, long history in business. Our beliefs about leadership are no different.

There is a personal and organizational cost of believing that leaders are born. Individuals miss opportunities to excel when they believe that they could not possibly be a leader because they were not born with natural leadership abilities. This lack of individual confidence also translates into lost productivity to the organization. Businesses loose untapped human capital that eventually translates to the bottom line when they seek only those workers that are "born leaders" for promotions or special projects.

I have never met a leader that was not born. We all are born. Some of us may be born with more natural abilities than others, but we are all born. The reality is that leaders are developed. This is accomplished using a number of resources; self-development, mentoring, and coaching. The U.S. Army has done a fantastic job with leader development, especially in the non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps. They utilize the NCO Creed as a creed to succeed. This creed emphasizes the 7 Army Values that spell the acrostic LDRSHIP; loyalty, duty, respect, honor, integrity and personal courage. These values and the creed are all part of their professional development courses. The Army relates these values and the creed back to their business objectives. Something business should take advantage of today.

Individuals and businesses benefit greatly when leadership skills are developed. Individuals increase their value to themselves and their organization when they seek self-development of their leadership skills. These new skills translate into greater responsibilities, opportunities, self-confidence and of course, compensation.

When organizations develop leaders, they expand the potential growth of the businesses output. Furthermore, when a business takes an active roll in developing new leaders it demonstrates a level of commitment missing in the last several decades. This improves both recruiting and retention efforts of the organization.

People drive organizations, not the other way around. Investing in personal development through established organizational values, will lead to a workforce that is both personally fulfilled and professionally productive.

Submitted by:

Wesley Ford

Wesley Ford is the Nation's LDRSHIP Expert! His primary mission is professionally developing leaders using The Soldier's Method�. His more than 17 years of experience allows him to speak to and train organizations globally on tactical and strategic issues. Join the Successful Forces by visiting http://www.wesleyford.com.


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