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An act involving guiding a group of individuals or an organization is called leadership. A leader is powerful enough to command, influence others, or be a role model. Whether such people are born this way or the skills necessary for a leader can be obtained by learning have become popular in recent years. Some researchers claim that leadership consists of two-thirds of acquired skills and one-third of given talent. A leader needs some inborn characteristics, such as intelligence, charisma, confidence, being influential and decisive. In the study carried out by Daniel Goleman et al. (2012), an effective leader is defined by having emotional intelligence. This trait cannot be learned in class. It requires motivation, self-awareness, social skills, and empathy. However, according to Kirkpatrick & Locke (1996), such qualities alone cannot make a leader, since leadership is complex. A person cannot be born with all the necessary skills needed to lead. For instance, Barack Obama was such a charismatic and confident leader, who, despite having outstanding leadership qualities, shaped his leadership skills through pursuing several academic studies such as political science and international affairs. Such skills helped him in acquiring good qualities for the presidential position he would later compete for. This means that leadership can indeed be learned or rather acquired.
One of the most essential characteristics of a leader is that they have to be charismatic. According to Kirkpatrick and Locke, charisma is the state of being influential, having self-confident, strong moral values, and having the ability to attract other people. It is so important in leadership because it involves a combination of traits which win peoples’ trust, brings a sense of personal empowerment and appeals more to people than any other leadership quality. To my opinion, charisma can be learned by changing one’s behaviors to suit what is attractive to others. One of the traits of a charismatic leader is having a good communication style. For instance, Barack Obama knows how to connect with people through how he talks. He won the presidential campaigns in the US due to his ability to connect with people through speech and conversations in interviews, something he has acquired after years of experience and acquiring the necessary skills in school and his political career. Therefore, knowing how to communicate to people, how to start a conversation, how to make people comfortable by getting to the same level with them and being confident of oneself brings charisma. To gain charisma, one has to know how to be creative, make the conversation going, be nice to other people, and engage people by asking questions, bringing solutions to problems, as well as being interesting and fluent.
In conclusion, great leaders possess qualities that seem to go beyond acquired skills. However, for a person to fully qualify to be a leader, the inborn traits are coupled with learned skills from school and experience.
Goleman, D., Welch, S., & Welch, J. (2012). What makes a leader?. New York: Findaway World, LLC.
Kirkpatrick, S. A., & Locke, E. A. (1996). Direct and indirect effects of three core charismatic leadership components on performance and attitudes. Journal of applied psychology, 81(1), 36. Retrieved from https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~soc186/AssignedReadingd/Kirkpatrick-Traits.pdf
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