Talent vs Skill
Leadership is both a skill and a talent. The skill aspect of it can be refined and grown with time and experience. The talent aspect of it, however, is a bit different.
Talent is, in a lot of ways, inherent. We are born with a passion and a drive to do certain things. We tend to love those things we are naturally talented at doing. Are we great at them when we first discover them and start applying them? No. We stumble a lot and make mistakes, but our love for it keeps us dedicated. Therefore, over time, we naturally get better. Those who are gifted leaders will naturally be driven to assert themselves into positions of leadership early in life. Sure, they will fumble in the beginning and make mistakes, but their passion for it will keep them focused on mastering their craft.
If someone in a leadership role is not naturally gifted at leading others, their passion may not be great enough to keep them “in the game” when early mistakes are made. They more than likely will get frustrated and seek another avenue to focus their energies. If on the other hand, circumstances such as financial obligations require the less gifted to maintain their leadership roles, they will improve with time. If they work hard and spend the necessary time honing their abilities, regardless of their level of passion, they will get as good as those naturally gifted at leadership. However, if they do not work hard or are not willing or able to invest precious time in self-improvement, they’ll remain average leaders.
Advice for New Leaders
Remember, leadership will come easier for some more than others. To those who have natural skills: never rest on your laurels. Continue to work hard at self-improvement; seek mentorship and advice from others more experienced and be willing to implement what they’ve suggested.
On the other hand, for those who aren’t natural-born leaders: it won’t be easy for you. Don’t become bitter and discouraged because some of your peers are outpacing you. It will take hard work. But with the right amount of time and effort, you can achieve your goals.
Moreover, find your own style. Don’t try to emulate the style of someone else. Your mentor’s success doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll succeed. The leadership style of one person may work for him, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Some people achieve with assertiveness bordering on aggression. Others succeed through quiet collaboration.
Regardless of how you lead, do it with confidence. Confidence comes through mastery. Mastery comes from hard work and time. Sometimes, a person gets a lucky break. He may know the right people, be born into the right family, and have all the necessary talent. But that’s rare. For the vast majority of leaders, they arrive at their destination only through continual self-improvement that comes through humility, hard work, time, and dedication.