Research in psychology has helped to identify traits that many leaders exhibit. According to Dinh et al., one of the personality traits that differentiate a leader from other people is self-control (41). Famous leaders are tolerant, emotionally intelligent, and composed, particularly when they are under immense pressure. They are keen not to make decisions or utter words based on emotions. The ability of leaders to be composed in times of challenges enables them to deliberate on issues and come up with the most appropriate solution. Dinh et al. claim that leaders make sure that they take as much time as possible to formulate and work on resolutions that benefit them as well as their followers (45). According to Boerma et al., outstanding leaders show sympathy to themselves and their followers (58). They are not quick to judge people. Instead, they give all their followers adequate time to explain themselves. One should not confuse empathy with weakness. Özbağ, avers, “It takes an incredible character to remain silent in lei of lashing out and to be gracious to those who may not deserve it” (238). Great leaders are always ready to inspire those around them and to listen to their complaints.
Exceptional leaders are decisive. According to Voight, good leaders do not only have the power to make decisions but are also ready to assume responsibility for their judgments (55). The leaders stand by the decisions that they make. It serves as a way of giving direction to other employees. They understand that the success or failure of their organizations depends on the judgments that they make. Hence, the leaders are keen not to waver in decision-making as it may compromise the loyalty that employees have in them.
Formation of a Leader
Behavioral theories hold that anyone can become a leader through observation, learning, and training. Therefore, leaders are not born. According to Adams et al., leadership comprises a collection of skills that can be acquired through practice, insight, knowledge, and training over time (394). Even though some genetic features can aid in promoting leadership development, there are no studies that have proved that leadership is inborn. Research shows that individuals who are social, inquisitive, ambitious, and composed have a chance of becoming leaders (Adams et al. 396). A person’s intelligence quotient (IQ) has a negligible contribution to one becoming a leader (Boerma et al. 59). The majority of leaders give accounts of the hardships and struggles that they have endured. Indeed, most leaders trust that it is challenges and struggles that made them who they are today.
Individuals like Benjamin Franklin, Barrack Obama, and Sean Combs are a confirmation that leaders are made. Franklin believed in ambition, hard work, and thrift (Boerma et al. 61). In spite of coming from a humble family, his effort and determination enabled him to establish a successful printing business at a tender age. His father was a candlemaker, but this did not stop him from pursuing his dream. Franklin made numerous contributions in the fields of philosophy and science (Boerma et al. 62). Barrack Obama’s rise to the United States’ presidency is a confirmation that leaders are made and not born. Despite him not hailing from a rich or famous family, he worked hard and enrolled in Harvard Law School. His effort led to him being elected as the first Black head of the Harvard Law Review (Boerma et al. 64). President Obama made significant contributions to American politics during his tenure as Senator of the Illinois State (Boerma et al. 65). His work as a Senator resulted in Americans electing him as the first African-American president.
Adams, Renee, et al. “Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals.” Journal of Financial Economics, vol. 130, no. 2, 2018, pp. 392-408.
Boerma, Marjan, et al. “Point/Counterpoint: Are Outstanding Leaders Born or Made?” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 81, no. 3, 2017, pp. 58-67.
Dinh, Jesicca E., et al. “Leadership Theory and Research in the New Millennium: Current Theoretical Trends and Changing Perspectives.” The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 25, no. 1, 2014, pp. 36-62.
Özbağ, Gonul Kaya. “The Role of Personality in Leadership: Five Factor Personality Traits and Ethical Leadership.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 235, no. 1, 2016, pp. 235-242.
Voight, Mike. “Leadership Education and Development for Strength and Conditioning Professionals and Team Leaders.” Strength and Conditioning Journal, vol. 36, no. 1, 2014, pp. 52-62.