Leadership takes work

Are leaders born or made?

There are typically two camps of thought when it comes to leadership. Some believe that leadership is inherent and others believe that leadership can be learned. The truth is that whatever camp you subscribe to, leadership takes work. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if leadership skills are natural or learned. What does matter is the dedication and a constant willingness to improve that makes someone an effective leader.

The real (better) question is: What is the best way to either improve yourself as a natural leader or learn how to be the best leader you can be?

Be vulnerable

Many say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results. Businesses change, teams evolve, technology advances and challenges arise. Leaders can not afford to fall into the black hole that is insanity. What worked 4 months ago may not work now and it’s important for you as a leader to recognize this. It’s also important for you to understand that in order to grow as a business or person, you must be able to look at things from a different perspective. You must be willing to get butterflies in your stomach, be open to new ideas, and be prepared to accept any criticism that comes your way as a result. In short, you must be willing to be vulnerable.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” – Fred DeVito

Challenge yourself

Fred DeVito is a fitness guru, but his quote couldn’t be more fitting when it comes to leadership. If you find yourself in a stagnant state as a leader, something is wrong. The world moves fast and as a leader, it’s important for you to recognize this and move with or create your own current. Complacency is a warning sign that you have become too comfortable. In order to grow and improve, you must challenge yourself and in many cases, you may have to go out of your way to challenge yourself on purpose. Either way, find something that makes you nervous. Being uncomfortable is an incredible gateway to becoming a better version of yourself.

Related: A leader’s worst enemy and how to avoid it


The emotion that failure brings with it is an incredible space for opportunity and growth. Failure humbles you. It’s an opportunity to accept what didn’t go right and learn a new path to success. Don’t be afraid of failure and make decisions that may include a failure option. Failure doesn’t feel great, but it places you in the human state of fight or flight that will ultimately lead you to a path you’re supposed to be on.

Don’t get caught up in the origin of leadership skills. Instead, focus on being the best leader you can be. If your environment does not allow for vulnerability, failure, or challenge, go out of your way to find it. There are plenty of leadership training programs available that can put you in this incredible state of growth.