Why Many People Don’t Develop As Leaders


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More and more people recognize the value of good leadership, yet not very many work to become better leaders. 

Why is that? Despite the widespreadprevalence of leadership books and classes, many people think leadership isn’t for them. Maybe it’s because they make one of these assumptions:


1. I’m Not A “Born Leader,” So I Can’t Lead

Leaders are not born. Well, okay, they’re born. I’ve never met an unborn leader. (And I wouldn’t want to.) What I really mean is that your ability to lead is not set at birth.

While it’s true that some people are born with more natural gifts that will help them lead at a higher level, everyone has the potential to become a leader. 

And leadership can be developed and improved by anyone willing to put in the effort.


I believe this kind of thinking was more common in my generation and that of my parents, but it can still be seen today.

People think they need to be appointed to a position of leadership, when the reality is that becoming a good leader requires desire and some basic tools.

You can have a title and seniority and be incapable of leading. And you can have no title or seniority and be a good leader.


2. Work Experience Will Automatically Make Me A Leader

Leadership is like maturity. It doesn’t automatically come with age. Sometimes age comes alone. Tenure does not create leadership ability. In fact, it’s more likely to engender entitlement than leadership ability.


3. I’m Waiting Until I Get A Position To Start Developing As A Leader


This last assumption has been the most frustrating to me as a teacher of leadership. When I first started hosting leadership conferences, people would say, “If I ever become a leader” - meaning if they were ever appointed to a leadership position - “then maybe I’ll come to one of your seminars.”

What’s the problem? As legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” 

If you start learning about leadership now, not only will you increase your opportunities, but you’ll also make the most of them when they arrive.




John C. Maxwell, 10 Lesson Developing The Leader Within You, pg. 11-13


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