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Can Children Learn to Be Leaders?

A charter school in Utah focuses their curriculum on entrepreneurial skills, math, and capitalism. Listening to this story reminded me of a question I often ask:

Are leaders made, or are they natural born leaders?

If you could place thousands of leadership experts, coaches, writers, consultants, and academics into one room and pose that question, they would split into separate camps on two sides of that room. Many say “Leaders are made, not born.” Many would disagree and tell you that “Leaders are born, not made.”

This question is not helpful in understanding leadership today. I believe the pertinent question is:

“What do I do when I find myself in a leadership position or see a situation where someone needs to take charge?”


I call this latter situation a leadership void.

We All Can Be a Leader

Every one of us will find ourselves in this position at least once in our lives. This opportunity (or curse to some of you) often arises when there is a void in leadership. The opportunity could occur because of the following:


  • Promotion
  • Early departure of a boss
  • Temporary or pressing need
  • Committee or team membership
  • Crisis
  • Death
  • Vacancy of leadership
  • Unwillingness of someone to take charge