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Can Business Leadership Be Learned?

Can Business Leadership Be Learned?

There are many debates surrounding the concept of leadership. Are leadership skills innate or learned? What’s the difference between leadership and management in business? Can someone become an exceptional business leader through will and motivation alone or does he need years of experience? With controversial topics like this, the answers are bound to be complex. In this article, we strive to explain whether business leadership can be learned.

What Does it Mean to Be a Business Leader?

Business leaders are always associated with words like vision, purpose, or inspiration while managers are mostly associated with words like authority or control. It is obvious that there is a discrepancy in the connotation of these words and the leadership roles they are attached to.

It seems that in business, the role of the leaders is to provide employees with direction that is in correspondence with the goals and values of the company as a whole. A leader is supposed to inspire employees to follow that direction confidently and achieve the expected success.

What Skills and Qualities Define Business Leaders?

To come up with an inspiring, strategic vision for the company and convince employees of the strength of this vision, business leaders need to possess a rare combination of professional and personal skills and qualities. Successful leaders have confidence, integrity, charisma, intrinsic motivation to lead, great communication skills, and sound expertise of business.

Can Leadership Skills Be Learned?

Leadership skills seem to correspond more to personality traits rather than professional experience, but this only at a superficial level. Although some leadership skills are innate, they can always be refined and enhanced if one works diligently towards it.

In leadership, natural talent and experience merge, but the reality is that hard work is a huge component in the success of a leader. With every small professional victory, one gains more expertise and more confidence. With every failure, one learns to prioritize better and make better decisions. The ability of a person to become a leader is thus constantly evolving.

Experience Matters in Business Leadership

In business, the most prominent leadership position is organizational leadership, which focuses not only on establishing the vision of an organization but also on setting goals, assessing challenges, and maintaining communication at all levels of the company. You can read more about this complex role to discover that it’s impossible to rely exclusively on innate gifts to become a successful leader.

The education and experience of a business leader matters as much as his personal qualities. He needs to have a thorough understanding of business trends, the dynamics of global markets, technology, productivity, and many other topics for his strategic vision for the company to translate into realistic, measurable goals. Otherwise, his ability to inspire will backfire, putting the company on the wrong track and wasting resources.

Not everyone can be a successful business leader, but that does not mean that you have to be born with a talent for leadership. Although personal qualities matter to some degree, it’s more important to build experience and leadership skills through hard work. Becoming a leader is a constant process of self-creation and sustained growth.


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by Dirk DeBie // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.