An Essay On Leadership: Is The Leader Born or Made?


Leaders are born. There is no doubt about that, is there? The first born child of any set of siblings, of two or more siblings, is the born leader. This is so commonly true that I won’t bother to name a list of first borns to prove my point. We all know this is in general terms, and not, absolute terms. If you press me to prove my assertion, I will use my brother as an example.

My brother was the first born. He not only was the natural leader of myself and my sisters, but everywhere he went, and everything he did in life. In school, he was the teacher of his classmates. Many owe their high school graduation directly to his efforts.

In university, he was the leader of his fraternity. Students came to him for advice, direction and guidance. Students respected him and usually felt well taken care of with his leadership.

And then he joined the military. Over the course of the next 20 years of his life, he was the leader. Officers sought out his advice. Sergeants sought out his advice. Soldiers gladly followed him wherever he led. It didn’t matter where. As long as they were with my brother, they knew everything was going to be allright.

Now what about people like me? I was born fifth. My leadership lessons were learned by watching others. Deciding what kind of leaders best suited my own sense of what was a good leader. Gradually, I found my style. I like to give people freedom, to respect, to support, to challenge, to develop themselves, rather than wait for me to tell them what to do.

It has worked fine for me. It doesn’t indicate that I’ve abdicated responsibility. I hold myself ultimately accountable, for the good, the bad, the wonderful, and the ugly. I’m loyal, to you. And I expect you to be loyal to me. And when you break that loyalty with me, then I will tell you what I want from you.

For the moment, I am still a work in progress. I look for self-improvement. I listen to your feedback. In the end, I know I would have preferred to be a first born leader. But as a fifth born leader, I’ve made the most of my abilities. There is room for getting better, and since I can’t be first born, I’ll keep working on my skills, until one day I’m as good as my brother.

Finally, a quote from a great leader:

In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
~T. Jefferson

About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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