Leadership: Is it Innate? Research says no.

Rushford Leadership

Leadership: Is it Innate? Research says no.

Having a strong sense of leadership is necessary to move up the success ladder. But whether or not leaders are created or born is one of the most commonly debated leadership questions. Does leadership come naturally, or is it something that can be learned? Although the question is illogical and built on a false dichotomy, people nonetheless answer it confidently, frequently using their own opinions, life experiences, and intuition. One prevalent myth about leadership is that one must be born with certain traits or behaviors to be a leader. However, leadership is the act of influencing a group of people toward a common objective. The truth is that anyone can become a leader if they learn how to do it. Prioritizing others’ needs over your own and sticking to your leadership vision are the keys to success. Learn how to unleash the game-changing potential in others and yourself by enrolling in the Rushford MBA program.

The ability to develop one’s inherent potential makes life may be the most incredible leadership educator in history. Leadership results from people’s characters, tales, and adventures; it is what transpires (or does not) when personality is placed into life. Leadership is not fate or destiny. Fortunately, there is a wealth of scientific research on this topic. The Great Man Theory, one of the earliest views on leadership, asserted that exceptional leadership is not a trait that can be developed over time and with practice; rather, great leaders are endowed with the capacity to lead. According to these viewpoints, great leaders are supernatural beings born with all the necessary talents and the guts and confidence to take charge when the occasion calls for it. The trait hypothesis, proposed after the excellent man idea, asserted that people are not born leaders but are born with particular abilities and characteristics necessary to grow into outstanding leaders.

The behavioral hypothesis followed, which said that exceptional leaders are not born but develop into them over time. This school of thinking, which stresses behavioral attributes, emphasizes how leaders behave in specific circumstances more than their innate traits. According to behavioral theorists, anyone can become a great leader with the proper guidance and education. This perspective was closer to the truth: even the most successful historical leaders did not begin their careers with the necessary skills. Great former leaders came from modest origins. Instead, due to their situations and experiences, they acquired leadership skills.

Rushford Business School welcomes leadership as a topic for both research and training in light of these findings. Leadership Principles at Rushford are designed to help new and aspiring leaders unleash the potential in themselves and others and cultivate high-performing teams. Become a more versatile leader who can mobilize others by immersing yourself in real-world leadership challenges, self-assessments, and 360-degree feedback from colleagues and peers. We at Rushford emphasize teaching leadership skills, link theory to practice, and encourage our students’ participation in professional development opportunities associated with leadership.

Walt Disney mastered participative leadership to grow.

Walt Disney, the man who founded one of the most prosperous media enterprises in history, constantly altered his leadership style over time. Disney used participative leadership in the early years as he built the foundation of his organization.

When a leader uses participatory leadership, team members are urged to voice their opinions even though they have the authority to make the final choice. After Snow White’s colossal success, Walt started developing a sizable studio in California in the late 1930s. He searched the nation for talent and hired more than 700 artists. He needed team members that prioritized productivity, efficiency, and attention to detail to fulfill his aspirations of making long-form animated movies.

Disney had to learn the art of participative leadership since it required thousands of hours of labor to create just one narrative. He developed into a strong leader; he wasn’t born that way.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King led the effort to end legal segregation in the US, and he did so by implementing several different leadership philosophies. His preferred position was one of subservience. Despite having autocratic tendencies, he was a transformational leader.

He was essentially a proponent of charismatic leadership, which enabled him to relate to and win over the American people. This enabled him to gain a sizable following and gain international influence. Most people are unaware that he was born into a middle-class family and raised in the tradition of Southern black ministers. Along with being murdered, he endured at least four assaults and over 25 prison terms in fighting injustice.

King’s personality did not naturally lead him down a route toward leadership. Furthermore, he never felt pressured to take the reins; instead, he wanted to do so. The obligation to develop leadership abilities came along with that decision.

Arianna Huffington

Huffington’s leadership style has changed dramatically from when she initially rose to fame a generation ago, but time tends to smooth out the rough edges. She was a Pacesetter-style leader back then, intent on completing tasks as rapidly as possible as she competed for a position in a mega-corporations-dominated field.

Huffington, who spent most of her adult life founding the Huffington Post and regularly found herself in the political spotlight, said it all came naturally to her. Then, in 2007, she collapsed from weariness, and it was then that she experienced an epiphany, reexamined her beliefs, and adopted a fresh outlook.

She was resilient in developing the Huffington Post into the behemoth that it is today (AOL acquired it in 2011 for $315 million), all the while realizing the importance of a balanced life and advocating the same around the nation. As a result, she practiced servitude as her leadership style and focused on developing a great culture where strong moral ethos and service attitude are valued.

What insights about leadership can we draw from the experiences of great leaders?

With constant work, developing a wide range of leadership skills is possible. Leaders may be created, not just born. Furthermore, based solely on inherent personality traits, being one is not necessary nor sufficient. Great leaders acquire new skills over time. They frequently experience failure along the way, but what distinguishes them is their tenacity and dedication to growth. To succeed, they had to grow both as individuals and as leaders. Likewise, you are the same. Change from Rushford’s contribution to that of a high-performing leader and get off to the perfect start possible in your leadership path.

Great leaders require great mentors

Winston Churchill once said: “You have to learn from other people’s mistakes -you don’t have time to make them all yourself.”

A mentor can help you by providing a different perspective or more information, which can help you change your beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors. If we only draw on our experiences, we drastically limit our learning capacity.

This void is perfectly filled at Rushford. While working with students, our teachers encourage students to adopt a fresh perspective on the world. Through research, classes, and casual contacts, students are constantly challenged and taught by instructors. We develop worldly leaders capable of interacting with business and society to bring about positive, moral change.


Why Leadership?

High-performing teams are essential to the success of any organization, whether it be a family, a business, a non-profit, or a sports team, which is why leadership is crucial. Only your team can deliver success and create a “wall” that is taller and more difficult for your competitors to scale. New or unique products or services might bring you into the game.

While it might be difficult to envision that one factor could have such a big impact on performance, our everyday interactions and many studies repeatedly show it. A recent study of 30,000 executives found that the top 10% of leaders earned twice as much net income as the middle 80%. Another essential quality that distinguished the top 10% of leaders from the others was the ability to motivate and inspire others to achieve greatness.

A high-potential leader must have the appropriate skill sets to maximize organizational influence. With us at Rushford Business School, you learn how to apply theory, gain more profound and diverse perspectives, and work more successfully. The focus will be on utilizing your leadership skills to avoid common pitfalls made by new leaders while pursuing a fruitful and transforming career.

Here are a few tips for becoming a better leader:

A little modesty goes a long way

Leaders and bosses are two different things. Leaders are willing to share the spotlight and give others credit while maintaining their authority position. Contrary to widespread assumption, humility calls for more self-assurance than self-exaltation. It’s advantageous to your interpersonal and professional interactions.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is crucial in both the job and personal life. Great leaders know the benefits of listening and ensuring their followers are heard and understood. Since communication is a two-way street, making the most of it will keep your business going forward rather than tapping the brakes.

You’re ready to step up your game if you’ve improved your communication skills, mastered delegation, and made original proposals. You will have the chance to pick up new abilities and take on more responsibilities since your squad is already performing at its highest level.

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to maintain emotional control while yet being able to relate to and understand the feelings of others is known as emotional intelligence. Deep self-awareness, social awareness, empathy, and humility are essential for emotional intelligence, however these traits may be learned and cultivated.

Despite common advice to keep emotions out of business matters, interpersonal interactions drive a company forward. You must have emotional intelligence and be sensitive to other points of view and backgrounds to maintain these relationships. Keep your heart in mind when using your head to make beneficial decisions for your organization.

Continuous Improvement

Like great people, great leaders are constantly growing and striving to be even better versions of themselves. When you constantly try to improve, you will be in a position to provide and become more than you could have ever thought, defying the odds, setting higher standards, and stepping up to create the future you want.

Being a great leader teaches you to perceive criticism and setbacks as opportunities to improve your situation and yourself rather than as insurmountable obstacles. You’re constantly developing your skills and picking up new ones.

Find a mentor

No man is an island, as the phrase goes. The best leaders know their needs and who to turn to for assistance. Nobody knows everything but finding someone you can rely on to offer guidance when tough times can make all the difference.

Get to know Rushford’s outstanding faculty, and surround yourself with excellence. Power is in proximity. You need to surround yourself with individuals who will help you grow if you want to live an extraordinary life.

Support Others

A true leader is a great facilitator. Do you encourage people to speak up? Do you show your support for them when they excel in public? You respect the successes of your coworkers and prefer to hear their ideas than to air your own constantly. If you disagree with them, discuss it politely. You are very good at building relationships and encouraging trust in the workplace. A sincere leader understands that when employees consistently receive praise and rewards for their efforts, their motivation to do better increases.


Leadership theories try to explain the factors behind the success of specific individuals as great leaders. While some theories concentrate on the innate character traits of influential leaders, others concentrate on how people behave in particular circumstances and how that thought process can be learned and strengthened. Early leadership theories claimed that innate traits were the source of leadership ability. These theories endorsed the notion that some individuals are destined to be leaders. Recent theories contend that while some traits may make it easier for some people to become leaders, other vital aspects include experience and environment.

The truth is that all great leaders learned new skills along the road; they did not naturally possess traits that enabled them to do great things, rise to great heights, and leave a lasting impression on the world. To be successful, they had to advance as people and leaders. The good news is that you share that trait as well!

Join us at Rushford Business School, and let’s help you discover your hidden leadership potential and use your skills to build a successful career for yourself while changing the world. What are you waiting for while we are here?


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