Leadership: Inborn or Learned Talent?

By: Dr Carla Kesrouani June 23, 2023 no comments

Leadership: Inborn or Learned Talent?

Leadership is the ability to inspire and influence others to achieve a common goal. It involves setting a clear vision, communicating effectively, empowering and motivating people, and providing feedback and recognition.

Therefore, a person who has a leadership personality is an effective element in society and the environment, and helps direct matters and lead the team to obtain better results than before.

What makes an effective leader? Is that an inborn skill or a learned ability? Psychology research sheds light on this debate.

Some argue leaders are “born, not made” – that certain traits and temperaments distinguish natural leaders from non-leaders. However, evidence suggests both innate factors and acquired skills contribute to strong leadership.

Inborn Leader Theory

Inborn Leader TheorySome psychologists claim successful leadership depends on:

  • Extraversion – Leaders tend to be outgoing, gregarious and socially confident.
  • Emotional stability – Effective leaders remain calm under pressure and regulate emotions well.
  • Openness to experience – Leaders exhibit curiosity, creativity and willingness to consider new ideas.
  • High intelligence – Leaders tend to score above average on IQ and creativity tests.
  • Dominance – Leaders assert themselves, take charge and express their opinions.
  • Self-monitoring – Leaders recognize and adjust their self-presentation to influence others.

Together these “big five” personality traits constitute the inborn leader profile. However, correlation does not prove causation.

Learned Leader Theory

Other psychologists argue leadership depends more on acquired skills like:

  • Communication – Leaders effectively convey information, vision and inspiration to followers.
  • Problem-solving – Leaders analyze issues systematically and generate optimal solutions.
  • Social skills – Leaders build rapport, motivate and empower others through positive relationships.
  • Self-awareness – Leaders understand their strengths, weaknesses and impact on others.
  • Self-regulation – Leaders manage impulses, stress and emotions in productive ways.
  • Adaptability – Leaders adjust strategies to changing goals, environments and follower needs.

Leadership training and experience help develop these competencies over time.

Integrated Perspective

Integrated Perspective

Most researchers now agree that leadership emerges from an interaction between innate traits and developed skills. Innate dispositions incline but do not determine leadership potential.

Would-be leaders still require opportunities to:

  • Acquire task-relevant knowledge
  • Practice core competencies
  • Receive feedback on performance
  • Build confidence through successes

This integrated view recognizes that effective leadership depends on both personality traits that differentiate individuals from an early age and learned competencies that can narrow the gap between potential and real-world performance.

In summary, while certain innate characteristics may predispose some people to leadership, psychology research indicates that strong leadership ultimately results from a blend of natural talent and acquired abilities developed intentionally over time. Both “nature and nurture” thus contribute to molding great leaders. Understanding how these factors interact illuminates paths forward for cultivating leader potential in individuals and organizations alike.

Are both 2 ways possible?

Therefore, the most appropriate result for a very effective result is that the person acquires the gift of leadership by birth, and then this talent is developed through the upbringing of the family and the surrounding community.

This is how the seed is present and all we have to do is nurture it so that it grows and gives the required results.
This does not mean that it is impossible to exist if it is not present by birth, but it can be found in any person through directed education that allows him to focus on this aspect of his personality, in order to benefit himself and those around him.


That is, the existence of the talent of leadership in the person is possible by birth, and it can be acquired through education and through the environment. But when it is from both sources, it is clearer and stronger in a person’s personality.

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