I always cringe when I hear someone described as a natural born leader. Leadership is not something that is bestowed upon someone based upon his or her DNA. Anyone can have the ability to be a leader, not just a lucky chosen few.
The concept of a natural born leader stems from the Great Man Theory of Leadership that was an early popular theory and was closely aligned to charisma. People have often confused the perception of leadership with charisma. In many situations, the person with the most charisma is chosen to lead instead of someone that might have great leadership qualities, but does not advertise them to the world. While charisma is an endearing trait and often demonstrated by people found to be great leaders, it is not what makes someone a leader. Great leaders are created through self-awareness, understanding how to be a leader, learning how to develop the traits that people want in a leader, and most important realizing that leadership is not all about you. I am not saying that a leader cannot be charismatic, but it should not be the only consideration in leadership.
There are people who view themselves as a natural born leader. These individuals tend to be stuck in a self-important mindset and their leadership style can be off-putting to others. I am sure you have experienced this type of person. They will typically jump into a problem situation and start making changes and begin ordering people around. These people see themselves as experts who come in during times of trouble to right the course, the whole time telling everyone how awesome they are. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they are not. Ironically, their success or failure is attributed more to hard work than leadership. These types of “leaders” will overpower a group with their knowledge without gaining consensus or hearing input from others. No one on the team in this scenario will feel empowered or motivated. In the end, it will lead to bad feelings and a poor working environment.
Natural born leaders do not exist. Leaders exist because individuals wanted to be a leader and learned how to do it. Leadership success is driven by someone’s dedication toward becoming a leader. In other words, we all control our own leadership destiny; we are not born into it.