Are Great Leaders Born Or Made?

Are Great Leaders Born Or Made?

Are Great Leaders Born Or Made?

I mean like… it is a fair question to ask right? So, which one is it? Which would you choose?

Everytime I pose this question to a room of executives in my public speaking engagements, interestingly, about third of the room will raise their hand for born, another third for made and another for both born and made. Then, as everyone in the room is looking to me for the answer, I say, “Well, what if I told you it was really a trick question”? “You see, while I believe some great leaders are born, some are made and some are both born and made, the greatest, certainly the most successful leaders are simply this… an ordinary person with an extraordinary commitment. Let me say it again, great leaders are simply an ordinary person with and extraordinary commitment!”


I see the room filled with quizzical looking faces silently saying to me, “what is that supposed to mean?”

I then say, “Ok, the operative phrase here obviously, is extraordinary commitment, is it not”? “Let me explain what I believe makes a commitment extraordinary and how truly great leaders both consciously and subconsciously do this on at least a semi-regular basis.”

100% Committed vs 100% Committed And, How One Version Is Truly Extraordinary

Math is truth. We cannot argue that 1 + 1 = 2 and 2 + 2 = 4

However, right here and now I am going to prove to you how a truthful math equation may not always be true… as math cannot explain nor account for the human experience.

If I said, 100% = 100% everyone would agree. Yes?

What if I said they are not always equal… that there sometimes is a profound difference between one 100% commitment and another 100% commitment?

Oh, you say there is no difference? Well, let me share with you there actually is a world of a difference and that this is the difference between what makes people/leaders great and most others just very good to ordinary.

Many of us (when truly determined) cognitively make 100% commitments. Yes, that’s right… 100%. However, what you are about to find out is that incredibly great leaders have a different type of 100% than some of yours. Here’s what I mean… let’s use a diet (specifically pizza) as a metaphor.

Remember the last time you went on a diet? You felt some struggle at some point… yes? Some moments you even probably fantasized about your favorite food (in this case pizza), that which you have been denying yourself all this long. And, while you may have reached your goal, let’s say 20 pounds, you had at least a few difficult moments. Normal right? WRONG! Well, yes normal but, not for a truly committed and transformed person. Not for a transformed, extraordinary person. For extraordinary people… their 100% commitments are different… different than most others 100%. Why or how is that you ask? Because while you both didn’t eat the pizza (you were both 100% committed) the difference between most of us and those who are truly transformed (extraordinarily committed) is… those who incorporate the commitment into how they think and act do not struggle! Their decision to not eat pizza becomes a part of them. Down to the fabric of how they think, act, be and in this case, eat. It’s almost like it is in their DNA. Their commitment is so much a part of them it is in their proverbial bloodstream. And because their commitment is incorporated inside them, they don’t experience struggle, EVER! There is almost a serenity. A peace that resonates within them because they have incorporated this new act, this new way of being into them. It is now them. Who they are and how they be.

This almost spiritually elevated level of 100% is the focal point, from where profound progress and breakthrough begins. A special place within ourselves that attractively pulls our outer world dreams to us. A place where we begin to create true alignment – aligning our inner world (thoughts and feelings) with our outer world (words and actions). And, when we master specifically these types of 100% commitments – true incorporation – this is where true attraction and flow state begins.

So you see… there are indeed two types of 100% commitments… the person who says no to pizza and struggles and the person who says no to pizza without struggle or even thought. 100% doesn’t always equal 100%.

Great Leadership Is All About The Significance (Or Not) Of That Which Happens On The Inside

Great leadership goes far deeper than just intelligence, ambition, behavior correction and modification. It is about how you manage your own operating system and the depth in which you make your commitments extraordinary.

Ultimately, it matters not whether a great leader is born or made, what matters is that we make not just one, but MANY life lasting, life empowering commitments. We make them a part of how we BE… how we think, feel and navigate through life. Extraordinary humans can, just like a switch on the wall, turn the light on and add many positive, empowered behaviors into their lives at the level in which they are literally woven into them. No thought. No struggle. Only just, the way…

Anyway, that’s how I see it. How about you?

Andrew Kolikoff, Servant Sales & Leadership Coach

Andrew is a sales and customer retention innovator, leadership development and culture coach, public speaker, and author.
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