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Nature vs. Nurture: Can Leadership Be Learned?

Have you ever wondered if leadership is something we’re born with, or can it be developed through learning and experience? As someone who’s deeply intrigued by the world of leadership, this timeless question often sparks curiosity in me. So, come join me, as we explore the complexities of the topic and relate it to various aspects of human growth and aptitude.

The Argument for Leaders Being “Made”:

Throughout my own experiences, I’ve come across individuals who seem to naturally exude leadership potential. But here’s the catch: I genuinely believe that leadership isn’t just something you’re born with; it can be nurtured and polished through hands-on experience, learning, and facing diverse challenges. Although babies don’t possess the skills for leadership, some folks show early signs of having what it takes to lead.

Unraveling the Predictability of Adult Leadership:

Research has given us intriguing insights into adult leadership. Traits like intelligence, drive, empathy, emotional intelligence (EQ), curiosity, humility, and integrity can actually be measured in children. It’s fascinating to observe how ranking these qualities in kids during their childhood can offer some predictions about their leadership abilities as they grow up.

Drawing Parallels with Growth and Aptitude:

Let’s draw a relatable analogy here—think about the way children physically grow taller from their early years to adulthood. The variations in their heights can be predicted to some extent based on their childhood heights. Similarly, leadership potential can be compared to musical aptitude; some people have a natural inclination towards it, and their inherent abilities might require less effort to excel compared to others.

The Complexity of Leadership Formation:

As you’ve probably experienced, the journey to becoming a leader isn’t a straightforward one. It’s an intricate interplay between innate qualities and the polishing of skills through real-life experiences and learning. While some individuals may seem to have a head start in leadership potential, genuine leadership excellence emerges through hands-on practice, continuous learning, and the guidance of mentors.


So, can leadership be learned? It’s a question that keeps us on our toes as we explore the delicate balance between nature and nurture. While some qualities may be inherent, the true essence of leadership unfolds through embracing practical experience, continuous learning, and mentorship. In the end, it’s this dynamic interplay that empowers us to recognize and unleash the leadership potential within ourselves and others, ultimately cultivating a new generation of capable and impactful leaders.



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