Leaders Are Made – Not Born
“Leaders are made, not born”. This adage is the most popular one that you have heard many times, probably since the dawn of time. Leadership growth sometimes appears via volunteer roles. This adage has been used by thought leaders, leadership guru’s, inspiring and motivational speakers in their introductions as they lead you into their presentations. Great if it was that simple. But today, I introduce you to a troika to this timeless adage and turn it into a triage; Leaders Are Made, Not Born . . . Then Elected. And it’s the “then elected” I would like to focus on.
Leaders Are Made, Not Born – Then Elected
This adage has been used on many, such as you, to encourage you to discover and explore, then develop your personal style of leadership, and put yourself in control of your destiny, growing to whatever passion or desire you aspire to. This ensures a never-ending supply of leaders, whether for corporate, volunteer or for drivers of social cause organizations.
Wanting to be a leader, gaining the skills of an all-around competent leader, does not necessarily mean a leadership position will be bestowed upon you at some future time. You may not be there yet. There can be one barrier, one that you have little control over, that may impede your leadership journey and become a roadblock.
It may be quite obvious and visible in some cases of aspiring leaders. But other times this impediment can be very subtle and take some time to be recognized and identified by you. You may even run into walls that burn up your valuable and precious time, being in denial that it can’t happen to you. But there comes a time you have to take off your rose colored glasses, your feeling of entitlement, your sense that you earned and therefore deserve a leadership role and admit to reality. For those that disagree, I would suggest you are the few that are lucky enough to breeze through this barrier, if you even have had any in your leadership journey. But others may start to see patterns, start asking questions, wondering what they are doing wrong and even beat themselves up.
This impediment I am speaking of is “THEN ELECTED”.
What Does Elected Mean?
What does this impediment, ELECTED, look like? Let’s pick the easiest to see first.
- This is where someone openly proclaims that you are incapable and are the wrong person for the leadership role. This one is clear and doesn’t take much time to recognize. It is meant to derail you as quickly as possible.
- On the other side are the more subtle signs that can take much longer to identify, understand, and acknowledge. The time frame can be several years. I am talking about a lack of people stepping up to help you when you ask for volunteers to offload you. You may see people that don’t support your ideas and openly disagree with your thoughts and actions. And like everything in life, there are varying degrees, each with its own requirements. Small simple, short-term leadership positions are easy to exercise and fulfill. But more advanced levels of leadership require more, and so too come with more barriers. You may have some control and input on some; Others perhaps less so.
Arriving Into Leadership
There are various ways a person transitions into a leadership role, whether they realize it or not; whether they like it or not. From 8 to 80, the calling into leadership takes many forms and seldom ceases to percolate. You may have even witnessed and experienced some of these yourself.
Kids are pushed; are triple dog dared. Parents sign up their kids. Friends are coerced. Volunteers are “volun-told”. Some are pushed, pulled, even checked sideways into a segway. Some are enticed, encouraged, invited, insisted upon.
Attributes of Leaders and Leadership
So what attributes or conditions can help you climb to your desired position of leader and leadership? What can help minimize this impediment? Below are some, which in combination can contribute to your growth into leadership;
- timing (timing is everything)
- luck (always helps)
- being in the right place at the right time
- being liked
- visible skillset
- social panache
- family ties
All of the above, solely or in some combination can contribute to overcoming that final impediment in the troika of leadership ascension. The combination will be different for each person, based on them and the organization.
Various Forms of Being Elected
Politicians have to be elected. Executives have to be given a mandate. Kids have to be encouraged. Teens have to be pushed. Some teens are pulled. Some are invited. Others are coerced. Volunteers need to be volun-told. Members of volunteer organizations need to volunteer their support. No matter where you look, a leader must eventually be chosen, through various forms and cannot be self-proclaimed, just because. All of these are some form of being chosen for leadership or elected.