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Are Leaders Born Or Made?

Dec 11, 2010
2,690
113
I cringe every time I hear a coach say “be a leader” with absolutely no further explanation.

It does help you pick the people out of any group with sociopathic tendencies though, lol.
 
Jun 6, 2016
1,075
83
Chicago
I'm breaking the rules and not just picking one, but I think it's the wrong question.

I don't think leadership is a skill you can actively teach. It's not like teaching proper pitching mechanics or something. It doesn't work like that.

A lot of leadership is based on personality, which develops and changes, but a lot of it is innate (or developed during very early years, long before they're playing organized sports). But I think as a leader, you can show (teach) how to be a leader through your own actions.

Here's another difference between "teaching" leadership and other skills. I believe that most of the time, if I can't get a girl to learn some softball skill, it's mostly my fault. I either didn't explain it the right way or didn't establish credibility to make her trust me or whatever. Some part of it could be lack of ability, lack of desire, etc., but it's mostly my fault. With leadership, I think as long as you as a leader are being a good leader, it's really out of your hands at that point. You can't just pick a person and say "I'm gonna make them a leader." You just set the example, and the ones inclined toward leadership will step up. I really think a lot of leadership is passive in how it's taught and learned.
 
Dec 11, 2010
2,690
113
Hit me with your definition of what leadership is, y’all!

Do it without reading what previous posters wrote.

Better yet, maybe o.p. can start a “prong 2“ post to go along with this one!
 

NBECoach

Learning everyday
Aug 9, 2018
160
28
SE Wisconsin
Leadership is the ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and the best possible results The most basic trait for a leader to have is respect of the team. Communication that we have a common goal, and that the team needs to work together to get there. They must be fair to all or there is no respect. Acknowledge successes and use the failures s a teaching moment,
 
Apr 28, 2019
1,221
83
You can only pick one! I wrote a blog post around this super interesting debate the other day and I want to know what you all think about that question, how it relates to softball, and why you think one way or the other. So, are leaders born or made?...
Leaders are created. We are all creatures of our environments. We are all influenced by different things. Who your parents are, what they believe in, relatives, circle of friends/piers, schools you attend, teachers, neighborhood etc...
If you look through history leaders are groomed from an early age. Whether it be a Trojan King, Roman Emperor, Egyptian Pharoah, or a British Monarch.
Money and privilege are often factors that contribute to successful leaders.
 
Dec 15, 2018
179
43
CT
Leaders are created. We are all creatures of our environments. We are all influenced by different things. Who your parents are, what they believe in, relatives, circle of friends/piers, schools you attend, teachers, neighborhood etc...
If you look through history leaders are groomed from an early age. Whether it be a Trojan King, Roman Emperor, Egyptian Pharoah, or a British Monarch.
Money and privilege are often factors that contribute to successful leaders.
You describe how some leaders ascend to positions of leadership, and site some examples of those who are literally born into it. That says nothing about whether effective leaders are made or born. There are endless examples of disastrous kings, queens and emperors.

I agree that many leaders ascend in large part to privilege. Education, intelligence, emotional stability, experience and opportunity are all key inputs to leadership. A person is more likely to possess these traits if they are raised comfortably (though there's definitely something to be said for the grit / determination / perseverance qualities that can be experienced in uncomfortable upbringings).

I think the existence of our military academies is a good example of both - that we select potential leaders into these programs based on qualities they've already demonstrated, but then we train them to be effective leaders.

Leadership emergence (the ability for someone to be placed or chosen to be a leader based on their perceived dominance, charisma, etc.) is a real thing, but shouldn't be confused with leadership effectiveness.

And, we can't forget the all important element of chance. Right place, right time, circumstance. (the last part of "born, made, thrust upon").
 
Jan 27, 2010
1,790
63
NJ
I think the existence of our military academies is a good example of both - that we select potential leaders into these programs based on qualities they've already demonstrated, but then we train them to be effective leaders.
Very true. The SAs look for candidates that have demonstrated leadership. Things like team captains, club officers, student body, ECA organizers. Once they are at the SA they are refined and taught what is believed to be the skills required of a leader. DD is 21 now and after several leadership classes and some summer detailer assignments I see it and hear it from her but she possessed the rudimentary skills to begin with.
 
Jan 13, 2020
862
63
Found many leaders in sports and business by putting them in the position to lead.

Some continued to look to lead and others chose not to but all were grateful for the opportunity.
 
Last edited:
Jan 28, 2017
942
43
Born with ability to lead. Life helps train them of course. My kids have a stable home life and both parents have leadership roles- my kids are leaders in a soft voice because it’s expected. Some kids grow up hard and have to make choices that change their lives and IMO they can become great leaders.

As far as sports go you can’t make a team follow someone so you better try and shape the person theywill follow. As a former HS football coach it was always the guy that would tell his buddies that guy is a blooming idiot and then you blow the whistle and says let’s go guys. Haven’t figured the other gender out yet. Lol
 

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