Thursday, August 1, 2013

Caught or Taught

Caught  or Taught?
This is a question that is often asked about leadership. Is it something that we are born with (caught) or is it something that we develop through our years (taught)? As you may well imagine, the opinions here often vary and take one side or the other. However, could be suggest that these views are more opposite sides of the same coin rather than opposing opinions.. There are those who choose to sit on the fence of this discussion and lean to neither side. They simply answer "yes" when asked is leadership caught or taught. I would have to say that I am one of them. Allow me to explain.
First, I think we could all easily agree that some are more predisposed to leadership than others. I seen both the young and the old alike step up to the leadership plate and humbly bear its responsibility as if it were second nature to them. However, there are likewise those who choose to run from it as well. Those who seem more predisposed would be those to whom leadership comes naturally, its caught.
Second, think back to the days of youth sports. Of the kids who were on your team, you likely could easily identify those who were the team leaders. The coaches likely saw this, and with any luck helped to foster and develop this ability. Being put in a position of team captain, or something similar, in youth sports not only helped to identify a natural talent, but also helped to develop it. It helped you to learn the nature and complexities of leadership; it was taught.
At the end of the day, there are those who people naturally look to as leaders. Yes, it may be a "caught" ability for them, but it is highly unlikely that the ability has not been developed, or taught, over the years. This is a debate that cannot, not should not, be looked at as an "either/or" option, but as a "both/and" opportunity.
Good leaders realize their talent and develop it. That is one of the hallmarks of good    leadership. Quality leadership must be developed, even if it does come naturally for some.
The answer, therefore, is that leadership is both caught and taught. A more detailed question for a later discussion is whether it can be simply one or the other or if it must be both to achieve the highest quality of leadership.

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