The age-old debate continues. Are leaders born or made? It is an interesting, if tired, debate that continues because it can never be definitively satisfied. Given the perspective of history, we attempt to answer the question for those leaders who have come and gone by evaluating the back-story of their lives and positing our best guess. I wonder if it is even worth the energy to fire the synapses in our brain thinking about it.
We are fundamentally who we are. Anyone who has done personality assessments can spout out that they are a “high D” or “ESTJ” depending on whether they prefer DISC or Myers-Briggs. We are “hardwired” a certain way and that hard wiring dictates, to a large extent, how we behave (and lead) in most circumstances.
But because we are learning organisms, we are also capable of adapting our behavior, from our base type, to accommodate those situations that require such. The secret to these adaptations is in the size and duration. We can make small adaptations to our type for a long period of time, and large adaptations for a short period of time. it is extremely difficult, however, to make large adaptations for long periods of time. At least without something going kaput.
To make a meaningful difference in our leadership capability, therefore requires an understanding of who we are and a reasonableness about the changes we wish to implement. If you are a raging introvert, you are unlikely to become America’s favorite game show host. Not for long, anyway. If you are an action-oriented extrovert, it is probably not a great idea to take that job as an assistant librarian.
So if you wish to make a change to your leadership style, begin by honestly assessing who you are and how your personality works. With this knowledge under your belt you can make the kind of adaptations that can stick, so long as you consider that superb advice your Mom gave you years ago. Everything in moderation.