"Contrary to popular opinion, leadership is not meant for an elite group of people who, by fate or accident, become leaders while everyone else is consigned to being a lifelong follower."
— Dr. Myles Munroe
I remember hearing a story about an influential person in the early twentieth century; he came upon a beautiful quaint village while on vacation in Europe. He sees a man tending sheep in the field and asks if "any great influential people were born here," The man replies, "no, only infants." My point in relating the story is the truth within the resident's humorous reply is that no man or woman is born great. Greatness is achieved by choice.
No one is successful without realizing and developing their potential, and that requires intentional living. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale encourages, "Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy."
John C. Maxwell writes, "Leadership is not an exclusive club reserved for those who were "born with it." The traits comprising the raw materials of leadership can be acquired. Link them up with desire, and nothing can keep you from becoming a leader.
Some people have a more intuitive grasp of how to lead than others. These "natural-born leaders" will always emerge, but their influence hinges upon their ability to supplement inborn talent with learned skills. Ultimately, leadership is developed, not discovered." (1)
Every Human Being is a Leader to Some Degree
"Why am I trying to become what I don't want to be … when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am."
— Arthur Miller
I believe that every person is born to lead. Embedded within our DNA lies our potential to lead. All leaders are not equal, our abilities to think, create, communicate, and influence others differ. When watching children play on their own, you can see expressions of their imagination and signs of the leadership capabilities within them.
As young as four or five years of age, children can exhibit traits that reveal their potential. Early development tends to set some children apart from others, unconsciously they will tend to take the lead in the group they're playing with, and some will naturally follow them.
Children naturally activate vision, and when they do, they're unknowingly connecting to their Life's purpose. However, when properly guided, a child can use their limited knowledge to pursue and develop their dream, which in most cases will find fulfillment in adulthood.
Personal Development is the Key to your Leadership Development
All of us have the potential to develop our unique leadership skills. Some of us begin developing these skills earlier than others, some as children when we became aware that others listen to us and follow us, others later on in Life when awareness awakens our desire to lead. Whatever the case, our leadership development will always be a lifelong process, hence the term lifelong learners.
As we mature, developing thinking, planning, and self-awareness distinguish developing leaders from those around them. Dr. Myles Munroe says, "I found that true leaders are distinguished by a unique mental attitude that emanates from an internalized discovery of self, which creates a strong, positive, and confident self-concept and self-worth." (2)
Some may buy into the randomly "natural born to be great" myth, thus unknowingly underestimating their unique leadership giftedness and potential. From the stay-at-home parent to the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, the gift of leadership is inherent in both in varying degrees for their specific purpose.
Ask the following five simple questions of yourself and those around you. Answering in the affirmative to any or all will reveal a degree of the leadership potential within. I encourage you to pursue leadership development.
Are you aware of things beyond your circle of influence?
Do you see and desire to develop the gifts and talents in others?
Are you grappling with issues before many around you are aware of them?
Do you recognize opportunities and challenges in current events?
Are you passionate about learning from successes and failures?
"The effectiveness of your work will never rise above your ability to lead and influence others. You cannot produce consistently on a level higher than your leadership. In other words, your leadership skills determine the level of your success and the success of those who work around you."
— John C. Maxwell
(1) How Leaders Develop by John C. Maxwell https://bit.ly/30e7xUH
(2) The Spirit of Leadership by Dr. Myles Munroe
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co. ***