Are Leaders Born or Made? 3 Guidelines to Make New Leaders

After two decades spent in the field of leadership development, we contend that leaders may be born with intelligence and raw talent but they are essentially made through experience over time. We believe that leaders must learn to effectively lead.

If you are in a leadership role in your company, one of your most important responsibilities is to raise a new generation of leaders to take over smoothly when you move on. The most effective way to nurture and grow leaders is through the process of action learning for leadership development. Once you identify some so-called high potentials, here are three guidelines on how to prepare them to take on ever greater responsibility:

  1. Experience: Give them broad exposure to different, unfamiliar and increasingly complex jobs. They will learn new skills and stretch in new ways in different and broad settings.

  2. Feedback: Support them with ongoing and targeted performance coaching about their relationships, approach and results. Provide frequent and timely feedback and help them understand the reasons for their successes as well as learn from failures.

  3. Support: Match them with savvy mentors…either current leaders or veterans who have the experience and know-how to share their advice and counsel when it is needed most.
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