Are Leaders Born or Made?

The Center for Creative Leadership researched proven methods that enable organizations to develop their leaders, which include, from most to least effective:

  • Moved into new and challenging roles
  • Given temporary assignments
  • Implemented projects and taskforces
  • Received 360 feedback and coaching
  • Participated in classroom training

Combine the best practices to help your company successfully develop your next generation of leaders:

Your own beliefs about leadership will impact your leadership effectiveness and the culture of your company. While it’s helpful to have been born with some necessary leadership qualities, that’s only part of the equation for success. Hiring the best leaders and providing ongoing development helps ensure that you can “make” the best leaders possible for your company.

Your organization should allocate time and resources toward hiring and developing leadership talent. Elevate your team – and your organization – by ensuring:

  • Strategic connections – Leadership training is integral to the strategic plan and recognized as a competitive advantage for the company – directly relevant to the current and future states of the organization.
  • Advanced processes – The talent identification and development processes should use best practices to create substantial leadership pipelines that enable the company to achieve their strategic goals. Succession planning and performance management support the development of leaders at every level.
  • CEO personal time – Leaders should spend personal time in development, including leading talent reviews, grooming and coaching high potentials, leadership education, and modeling successful leadership development for the company.
  • Culture of development – Leaders must create cultures where development is valued and rewarded, and learning is a key part of the business processes.
  • Leadership philosophy – Leaders should encourage a “promote from within” practice to ensure that there’s continued emphasis on leadership development.
  • Structure – There should be career paths outlined for critical roles in the company.
  • Rewards – Incentives should clearly outline expected results, how results will be accomplished, and the leaders’ track records for exporting talent. Leaders should only be promoted if they have demonstrated all three of these outcomes.
  • Accountability – Leaders must be held accountable for talent development, and be appraised and rewarded for success in this area.
  • Commitment – Leadership development is a necessity even when economic times are poor. The investment in leadership development must stay constant across business cycles.



David Brookmire ( is an executive advisor, researcher, author and leadership effectiveness coach, who has advised such companies as The Cheesecake Factory, Darden Restaurants, Bekaert, Mckesson, Flowers Foods, Pitney Bowes, and Frito-Lay. Additionally, he offers strategic direction in building organizational capabilities, merger and acquisition success, and improved leader and team performance.