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Topics: Leadership
Is leadership a natural born skill/ability?
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"Three Key Concepts for Advanced Project Leadership"

by Raoul Encinas

ProjectManagement.com Webinar, March 19, 2015

Orhan: Is leadership a natural born skill/ability, and if so how can you understand you are a natural born leader?

Raoul: Absolutely not! Leadership has nothing to do with where you were born, if you born with this skill or not,... Workplace is changing, leadership is changing; it is a skill that is strengthened, developed... (summary of Raoul's answer)

What do you think?
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There are many leadership theories. Until WWII most people assumed that leadership was a trait one was endowed with by nature. Thus we had to wait for providence or history to raise a "great man" from time to time.

WWII changed this approach drastically because we needed a lot of leaders fast. So we learned to grow good leaders from ordinary men and women.

By the 1970s James MacGregor Burns had set modern leadership theory on a firm foundation. He taught us that leadership is a behavior rather than a trait. Hence, like all behaviors, leadership is learned.

There may still be some truth to the trait theory of leadership. But for all intents and purposes this is irrelevant as science knows how to grow the leaders we need for our organizations, but is not in the business of raising messiahs.
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My opinion is that leadership is something that you can develop.

Although some people seem to develop some leadership skills easier than others, that doesn't mean that it is a natural born skill. Each of us has lived a different set of experiences in different contexts.

Even with some "natural" ability, someone will need to invest time and effort to develop his leadership skills. The basic level is not sufficient to achieve results.

Leadership skills are not something you can take the course, get the certificate and be done.

It is a lifetime journey of professional and personal development.

Of course, if someone doesn't want to learn and go outside of his comfort zone, then he will not be able to acquire leadership skills. But it is more the results of mental "choices" and "personal limiting beliefs".
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Leadership is an art that can be learned. This is the beauty of it all. As we are all evolving and developing in our lives, we can seek training opportunities to develop or enhance our leadership styles/skills that would best fit the situation.
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Leadership is 95% learned. The remaining 5% is our natural "Hard-Wired" Fight, Flee or Freeze instinct that triggers the Amygdala cortisol cocktail which fuels the emotions of fear and distrust. Our capacity to reach our full potential is then about MINDSET, the lens through which we see and navigate life.

Our ability to influence others to collaboratively produce results is directly determined by our fixed or growth mindset.

FIXED MINDSET - The belief that you are born with a certain amount of intelligence or potential and that it can’t change

GROW MINDSET - The belief that we can work hard, ask for help and try a different strategy to increase and develop potential

Growth or Fixed mindset influences the orientation of other life navigational filters such as being emotionally intelligent and outward facing ("We-centric") and developing conversational flexibility.

My choice is to grow... what about you?
...
1 reply by Thomas Rice
Apr 30, 2016 5:41 PM
Thomas Rice
...
Well said.
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Mar 01, 2016 6:57 PM
Replying to Phil Bristol
...
Leadership is 95% learned. The remaining 5% is our natural "Hard-Wired" Fight, Flee or Freeze instinct that triggers the Amygdala cortisol cocktail which fuels the emotions of fear and distrust. Our capacity to reach our full potential is then about MINDSET, the lens through which we see and navigate life.

Our ability to influence others to collaboratively produce results is directly determined by our fixed or growth mindset.

FIXED MINDSET - The belief that you are born with a certain amount of intelligence or potential and that it can’t change

GROW MINDSET - The belief that we can work hard, ask for help and try a different strategy to increase and develop potential

Growth or Fixed mindset influences the orientation of other life navigational filters such as being emotionally intelligent and outward facing ("We-centric") and developing conversational flexibility.

My choice is to grow... what about you?
Well said.

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