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I’m a leader, he’s a leader, she’s a leader, wouldn’t you like to be a leader too?

July 30, 2010

I normally agree with and like most Vince Lombardi quotes. But after a recent lunch with an old friend and former intern, I realized how much I disagree with one of Lombardi’s famous ones.

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

I do agree that anything in life worth a damn, you have to work hard for to achieve; parenthood, marriage, careers, etc. But where I do drift from his thought, is there is an internal fire that some possess that simply can’t be taught. No matter how bad some people want to lead, be vocal, take the reigns, something deep inside holds them back.

And some people throw themselves into situations aspiring for greatness and leadership only to find that they don’t pack the crucial punch to be believable.

My friend is still a student down at IU in the Kelley School of Business. In the hour and a half we spent, he easily and fluidly spoke of his aspirations, recent accomplishments in getting 20-year vets to follow his process, and how all of this makes him want more.

And I don’t believe that he got there by studying, going to see a tutor, or taking on more extra curricular activities. I think he was born with an intangible quality that his expectations for himself will always be higher than those put on him by outside forces.

The one thing he will need to discover is how to use that drive to make those around him better and want to follow his lead. His actions will trump his words, his work ethic will trump his wallet, and his respect for his peers will trump his reputation.

So I found this quote instead by an unknown author.

“A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.”

What do you think? Are you born a leader or are you made into a leader?

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