This is a great and traditional debating point and we’ll offer our view here – which is that it’s both.
The Nature versus Nurture debate has raged in various forms for millennia.
As our knowledge of genetics has grown in recent times, there is now once again a re-emphasis on the old assumption that certain aspects of your personality are present at birth. Through your genes, you may have inherited a pre-disposition to this or that behavioural inclination and a set of characteristics, however, your development or suppression of those as you age will be hugely influenced by your environment.
During the latter 20th century, our models of what constitutes leadership changed dramatically.
No longer was leadership seen as the ability to give lots of authoritative orders plus the occasional inspirational speech. Instead it was increasingly perceived to be the ability to change behaviours around you by personal and constant example.
In other words, modern leaders need to get people to follow them not by command-and-control but by the demonstration of exemplary approaches that others are driven to emulate.
The individual dimension
It’s worth remembering that not everyone wants to lead. Leadership typically brings with it responsibility and many people do not seek that. In that sense, it is true that some prefer to follow not lead though this doesn’t necessarily reflect their abilities – merely their expressed preferences.
By contrast, many people are interested in leading but have been conditioned by their environment and background to believe that they can’t because they “don’t have what it takes”.
Well, if you’re one such, let us help you put that to the test. You see we know that through our leadership development programme plus strength and conditioning training, we can bring out latent leadership characteristics in people who had previously been told that they weren’t “the right stuff”.