You Cannot Clone Leaders (but can you teach them?)
When discussing business leadership, the difference between good management and good leadership often exists. In What Leaders Really Do, Kotter (1990) justifies that leaders and managers are indeed different but they are complementary since a successful organization needs both good leaders and managers.
In line with theory of management, Kotter mentions that managers are usually thought to be the budgeters, the organizers, the controllers — the ants, as Kotter puts it — while leaders are the motivators, big-picture visionaries, the ones who change the whole organization.
The particular characteristics that managers and leaders possess imply that becoming leaders involve several activities that anyone can learn it. However, in previous study, some psychologists reveal that leaders are innate and genetically inherit the gifts form their ancestors.
Concerning the issue whether leaders are made or born, this paper will discuss about leadership, factors that lead to becoming high quality leaders, and skills that leaders must have. In the conclusion, we will summarize and take stance about how to become leaders.
Nitin Nohria, a professor at Harvard Business School, says that leaders have capability to say important things in a few words. General Electric’s Jack Welch is a good example. He is astonishingly articulate and able to convey complicated concepts in just a few phrases.
This condition in line with Louis R. Pondy who reveals that leadership is the matter of social influence in which good leaders must master three components of grammar: phonetics, syntactic, and semantic. Pondy suggests that the capability of using an appropriate language would characterize a leader.
Other scholars, Morris (1949, p.214), justifies that characteristics of having good language is important for leaders since language has powerful impact on controlling people/employees’ behavior in order to turn them into generating benefits for a company. Similarly, Fairhurst ; Saar (1996) also reveal that composing appropriate language is essential for leaders in order to help them to grab audience attention and interests towards particular issues.
In addition to language capability, there are four unexpected qualities of inspirational and quality leaders have as following:
Showing weaknesses selectively
Relying greatly on intuition to gauge the appropriate timing and course of their actions
Managing employees with empathy
Reveal their differences and capitalizing on what is unique about them
3. Are Leaders Born or Made?
The characteristics of leaders as explained above implies that leadership is skills that anyone can learn and master it. However, in the earlier 50-year research about leadership by several psychologists, they believe that leadership is gifted skills or genetic and they reveal that leadership is impossible to learn.
However, in recent research, some psychologists find that leadership is a skill that anyone can learn. This is because some respondents that have key positions in organizations such as Vice Presidents (VPs) of firms and military leaders say that their leadership skills are honed during their childhood and teenager’s era. At that time, their parents often teach them to set goals, transform failure and mistake into “how to do better next time”, and develop moral skills to deal with changes and diverse culture (Avolio, 2007).
4. Learning is the Key to Become Leaders
The facts saying VPs and military leaders got leadership skills since their childhood immediately raise question as whether people can hone their leadership skill if they already in mid-30s, 40s or at older age. Considering the issue, there are several skills that people can leran and master in order to become high-quality leaders as following:
§ Determine obstacles
§ Set short and long term goals
§ Search for someone who will watch us to stick to the goals
§ Find critics and feedbacks from colleagues to improve leadership skills
§ Take training on leadership regularly to keep up with latest practices and different kind of leadership styles
§ Stick to ethical standards
This paper has elaborated the stance about whether leaders are made or born. We first develop facts about leadership and factors that someone should learn to become high quality leaders. In the conclusion, we can say that anyone can be leaders by mastering some characteristics that leaders should have.
Avolio, Bruce. (2007). Are Leaders Born or Made? Sussex Publishers, LLC. Retrieved November 6, 2007 from http://psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-393.html;fromMod=popular_work
Kotter, John. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press
—, John. (1995). Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review.