Education and Leadership Development

Are leaders born or made?

VOLUMES have been written over the past decade about situational leadership, transactional leadership, crisis leadership, transformational leadership, servant leadership, and just about every nuance of leadership that one can imagine. Entire careers have been made lecturing on the importance of leadership and selling the latest leadership development approach.

One thing that most of the literature seems to agree on: Leaders are both born AND made. My take is that they are born of necessity rather than just from the womb. They are also made in the crucible of business, ministry, opportunity, and crisis.

Why is leadership development important for executives? For starters, most professionals in any realm (sports, military, business, ministry, etc.) usually want to be the best that they can be. Professionals take NOTHING for granted, including their leadership style and ability. While some are born with great charisma and drive, they understand that past success is no guarantee of future success.   (Even Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks work daily with a quarterback coach to improve their skills!)

 Also, effective executives understand that their realm of influence is constantly changing.  Teams change, organizations change, rules change, economies change. The style or skill that worked well yesterday may be outdated today.

Finally, I believe that the best leaders look for ways to develop leadership skills among their team members. Whether it is encouraging subordinates to enroll in a professional MBA program, having them attend leadership education seminars, or by providing opportunities to lead projects in-house, the best executive leaders strive to build an energized, empowered team of professionals. They create an environment in which it is okay to make a mistake now and then as long as the mistake is made while trying to complete the organizational mission in an ethical way.

“…my cup runneth over…”

He prepares a Table before me



God’s provision is so good, and so consistent, that too often we take it (and Him!) for granted. We have come to expect abundant food, electricity, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, good health, and leisure. We are shocked and chagrined when anything happens to disrupt our abundance. We strive and pray for things to “get back to normal” so that we can get back to enjoying the good life.

I am guilty of focusing on all the things that aren’t right in my world. Rather than giving thanks for my abundance, I find myself obsessing over the many things that could be improved.

While I do not want to become a Pollyanna, I do find that in the midst of my frustration with what I see wrong, scripture in Philipians 4:8  reminds me to think on the lovely and pure and praiseworthy. The Shepherd’s Psalm declares that “…He prepares a table before me…my cup overflows.” And yet, too often I forget. I forget that I am seated at The Lord’s Covenant Table as a member of His household. I forget that my life and my world are projects under construction, and that the finished product will only be apparent when He appears.

As I go into a special season of Thanksgiving and prepare to feast on  cornucopia of the finest foods, I endeavor to remember that even on the bad days, my cup overflows with His provision, His acceptance, His blessing, and His mercy. The Lord IS my Shepherd…