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Are Leaders Born?

I love thinking/talking about leadership. Great example from this week; it is Wednesday night and I’m in Portland, Maine, with a few of our franchisees and my vice president, Brad Voreis. After dinner, we head back to the hotel for some late night discussions (is that what they call it?) before we head out early Thursday morning. In the room are Matt Kelly from Cleveland, Bryan Yarborough from Tampa, Allan Becker from Memphis, Brad and I.

I asked the question, “When were you first in a leadership position?”

It is my belief that anyone who is willing to put it all on the line to become an entrepreneur, as these gents are, must be leaders. And, being curious, I wanted to better understand if leaders are born, created or a hybrid of the two.

Members of this informal focus group had all answered the leadership call at a young age. All four were athletes and learned leadership on the field. Bryan said he is a quiet leader who showed it on the football field. Matt was his team leader and subsequently appointed to the Naval Academy. Allan and Brad were team captains.

When did you know you were a leader?

I believe that if you are reading this blog you aren’t doing so for your health or because you have nothing else to read this week. I believe that you are very interested in your industry and are reading glassBYTEs.com because you are an industry leader – or striving to be one.

As you seek leaders in your organization, what are you doing to make sure that the people you are choosing/appointing have the capacity to do so? Are you asking candidates to tell you about their history as leaders? Or even their desire to be a leader? Case in point: on Wednesday night I heard the story about one person who promoted someone in their organization … in one week it was determined the person couldn’t handle the promotion and now couldn’t/wouldn’t take the step back to the previous position. In short, a person was promoted who shouldn’t have been and everyone lost because the leader chose the wrong person to be promoted.

I can say this because I’ve done this in my past. I’ve promoted people because it was “easy” versus that it was “right.” I’ve done it out of weakness to make my job easier instead of making the tough decision and find the “right” person. Shame on me. Have you ever done the same thing in your past? How did that work out? Better for you than for me?

As you look at making your next promotion, think about this blog. If someone has been a leader in the past—regardless if it might have been in orchestra, drama, sports or junior achievement—it might give you a glimpse of what they can do in the future for you!

Back to the question; are leaders born, created or a hybrid of both? I’m still not sure but I promise I’ll keep looking for the answer and share it when I discover it!