Are great leaders born or made? Years ago, I distinctly remember a discussion that centered on this very question in my PL300: Military Leadership class at West Point. As I recall, valid arguments were presented on both sides of the discussion, yet neither side carried the day. So, again I ask, are good leaders born or made? In short, yes. Leaders are both born and made. Although an individual may naturally possess attributes or talents which are conducive to becoming a great leader, an individual’s environment (i.e. his circumstances, training, education, life, etc.) functions as a personalized crucible which either refines these inherent assets or reduces them to ash. That being said, both are required for one to become a great leader.
At this point, let me ask a different, yet not unrelated, question: are Christ-like leaders born or made? In short, neither. Rather, Christ-like leaders are both reborn and remade. Why the distinction? Simply put, only genuine Christians can truly become Christ-like leaders. In other words, there are certain essential prerequisites for which only believers qualify: (1) spiritual regeneration (2 Cor. 5:17); (2) Holy Spirit empowerment (Ezek. 36:25-27; Phil. 2:12-13; Jer. 31:31-33); and (3) Spirit-wrought sanctification whereby a believer is conformed to the Image of Christ (Rom. 8:13, 29; Eph. 4:22). Even beyond this, certain members are supernaturally gifted by the Holy Spirit to be leaders within God’s people (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 4:7; 12:28). After further explanation of each of these prerequisites, this author will individually highlight the Spirit-wrought characteristics which distinguish Christ-like leaders.