Leadership is much more than a skill. While we may learn to tailor how we communicate with others to influence them to follow us, can we really learn a personality trait?

What is leadership?

Leadership can be seen in two ways:

  • As the “process of social
    influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others
    in the accomplishment of a common task”.
  • As “creating a way for
    people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.”

While learning to influence others is a skill that can be learned, it feels a lot like manipulation to me. Leaders that use manipulation consciously to get people to do what they want seem dishonest to me.

I think true leaders hold a deep belief in their cause or goal, a belief that is infectious. They don’t need to convince or manipulate others to follow them in their projects. People want to follow them. That’s natural leadership.

While leadeship skills may be learned, natural leadership cannot

Natural leadership is a personality trait. It requires personal conviction, self-confidence and extroversion.  Think about the natural leaders you’ve met: the great bosses you’ve had, the teachers you will never forget, the friends who made the gang special. What they had that made them natural leaders was not learned. They were born with it.

What do you think? Can leadership be learned?