Is leadership innate or acquired?

Leadership is a complex subject that raises many questions, one of the most important being whether it is innate or learned. Many people believe that leadership is an innate quality that cannot be learned, while others believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed with time and experience.

Indeed, some people seem destined to become leaders. They have a natural ability to inspire and mobilize others, take difficult decisions and solve complex problems. However, this is not to say that leadership cannot be acquired. Anyone can develop their leadership skills by leveraging their strengths, working on their weaknesses, learning new skills, and surrounding themselves with mentors and inspiring role models.

In this article, we explore what leadership is and the arguments for and against the innate or learned nature of leadership. We will also discuss the key skills needed to be a good leader.


What is leadership?

Leadership is a complex concept that can be difficult to define, as it encompasses a wide range of skills and qualities. In layman’s terms, leadership consists of guiding, inspiring and motivating others to achieve a common goal. This is not simply giving orders or making decisions, but rather creating a clear and compelling vision, effectively communicating that vision to others, and motivating them to work together to achieve it.

Leadership also involves a deep understanding of people and their behaviour, as well as the ability to communicate effectively and resolve conflict. Good leaders are able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team, develop relationships of trust and mutual respect with their members, and help them reach their full potential.

It is important to note that leadership is not limited to a professional or organizational setting. Leadership can be demonstrated in all spheres of life, whether in the family, the community or even on a global scale. Good leaders can face the most difficult challenges and find creative and innovative solutions.

There are many forms of leadership, each with its own ideas about the qualities and skills needed to be an effective leader. Some theories focus on personal qualities, such as charisma, self-confidence and emotional intelligence, while others focus on skills, such as decision-making, communication skills and problem-solving.


Are we born leaders or do we become them?

Whether leadership is innate or learned remains a debate that has split scholars for decades. Some argue that leaders are born with natural personality traits predisposing them to leadership excellence, while others believe that leadership is a skill that can be developed through experience and self-reflection.

Leadership: An Innate Character

There are indeed leadership traits that are innate to the person. Indeed, leadership requires personal qualities that cannot be easily acquired, such as natural charisma, thoroughness, tolerance, authority, etc. However, this innate character is useless if it is not trained. It must be developed to achieve real competence.

Leadership: A Set of Acquired Skills

Developing leadership skills is an ongoing process that requires constant reflection, advanced training and experience. The most effective leaders are those who can learn from their mistakes and failures, adapt to change and work on their weaknesses.

Leadership Is Both Innate and Learned

While some people may be more predisposed than others to excel in leadership, it is entirely possible to develop leadership skills. No one is perfect, every leader has qualities and flaws, and leadership development is an ongoing process that requires an open mind.

How to measure your leadership skills?


What is the purpose of leadership?

The leader’s objective is to guide, inspire and motivate individuals to achieve a common goal. He accomplishes this by creating a clear vision of the goal and establishing a path to reach it.

Leadership is about providing guidance, training and direction to help team members reach their full potential. Leaders must understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team and work closely with each member to help them develop and achieve their ambitions. Good leaders are able to provide constructive feedback and guidance to their team members to help them develop both professionally and personally.

Leadership is about creating a positive and inclusive work environment. Leaders must be aware of the diversity of their team and be able to create a work environment that encourages collaboration, creativity and innovation. They must also be able to manage conflict effectively and promote harmonious working relationships.

Finally, leadership is about ensuring the success of the organization or business. Today’s businesses operate in an ever-changing environment, which is why good leaders are a competitive advantage for businesses. The presence of a leader allows for the development of creativity, the planning of effective strategies and the implementation of creative solutions to problems.


What is the basis of leadership?

The foundation of leadership is having a vision and the ability to inspire and guide others, which consists in being able to:

  • Develop your personal leadership style by setting an example, expressing your convictions and demonstrating self-confidence.
  • Share this vision with people and show them the way to achieve it.
  • Encourage collaboration and gain the support of others
  • Change the frame of reference by looking for opportunities, experimenting and taking risks.
  • Encourage individual contributions and celebrate collective successes to build motivation and commitment.


What are the characteristics of a true leader?

Leaders need to be equipped with certain qualities, including vision, communication, innovation, empathy, emotional intelligence, self-confidence and resilience.


Vision is one of the most important qualities for a leader. A leader must be able to create a clear and compelling vision for their team. This vision must be realistic, achievable and inspiring. The leader must be able to motivate team members and get them to work together.


Communication is an essential quality of a leader. Leaders must be able to communicate their vision, goals and expectations effectively and concisely to their team.


Innovation is a key characteristic of modern leadership. Leaders who stand out are often those who can think outside the box, seek out new approaches, and creatively address challenges. Innovative leaders encourage their team to step out of their comfort zone, explore new ideas, experiment and take risks. They encourage critical thinking and decision making to drive innovation in their organization.


A good leader must be able to understand the needs and desires of their team, as well as the challenges they face. By understanding the perspectives and experiences of each team member, a leader can build trust and transparency with their team.

Emotional intelligence

A leader must be able to manage their own emotions and those of their team members effectively while maintaining a positive and motivating work environment, even when challenges become difficult.


Self-confidence is a fundamental characteristic of leadership. Confident leaders are able to handle complex situations and solve problems quickly while maintaining a positive attitude and inspiring their team. A confident leader can transmit this confidence to their team, which can help them overcome challenges with optimism and determination.


Leaders often face challenges and failures that can test their confidence and motivation. For this reason, resilience is a characteristic that distinguishes a good leader. A resilient leader can keep moving forward despite obstacles. They can handle pressure and keep their team motivated even in difficult situations. They are able to inspire their team to persevere despite difficulties.

How to decide between two candidates?


Tips for developing your leadership

Almost everyone has the ability to become a leader. Here are some tips for developing your leadership skills.

Participate in Training

Experience is the most effective way to develop leadership skills. However, many managers can accumulate years of experience without ever learning the lessons necessary to become true leaders. Developing leadership skills requires conscious reflection on experiences in team management.

The leader must be able to draw useful conclusions from experiences to better understand what is needed to be an effective leader. While experience is important, coaching and training are very useful ways to accelerate the learning process and the development of leadership skills.

Take Initiative

Leaders take initiative and make important decisions. You can develop your leadership by taking initiative. This can include coming up with new ideas, finding creative solutions to problems or organizing events or activities for your team.

Develop Your Communication

As a leader, you need to be able to communicate clearly and persuasively to inspire others to follow you. To improve your communication skills, you can practise public speaking, actively listen to others and express your ideas concisely and coherently.

Be Open to Change and Learning

To develop your leadership, you must be open to change and willing to learn new skills. This may include reading books on leadership, attending trainings or seminars, etc.

The Best Leadership Test

The ID-Leadership Test is a leading-edge leadership assessment tool that accurately gauges key aspects of leadership for recruitment, succession development and coaching. Grounded in the latest leadership theories, this questionnaire assesses essential leadership factors including leadership style, source of motivation, purpose and suitability for work environments. Through the use of this tool, it is possible to objectively assess leadership skills.

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