The Leadership Muscle or The Leadership Gene

Are leaders born or made?

It’s a question that is continually asked by scholars and businesses alike. Whether in an academic or corporate environment, many try to gain a better grasp on how leadership is formed, in hopes to replicate great leadership for the future.

Which leadership camp are you in? Do you believe that people enter this world with a natural capacity to lead, or do you believe leadership is a trait formed and created overtime through intentional purpose and force?

Much like the nature versus nurture debate in science, the question of whether leaders are born or made is one that many continue to debate. Some believe individuals innately possess leadership qualities. Others argue that leadership is more like a muscle; one that is developed and refined through intentional acts of self-discovery.

If you are wondering which perspective Thinc Strategy takes on leadership, we’ve got the answer that should provide the clarity you need.


Some people are born with innate leadership characteristics. Those born-with leadership characteristics vary and can come with a mixed bag of traits, including being a visionary, having unwavering confidence and being risk-averse. But those traits alone are not guaranteed ingredients for great leadership. Those traits are more like a head start. The traits help, but the key to leadership is tied directly to an individual’s ability analyze, act and adapt.

  1. Analyze individual behaviors, abilities, strengths and weakness.
  2. Act on opportunities or create opportunities to act on.
  3. Adapt to the environment and its evolving circumstances, as well as staying comfortable with continuous change.

When we see leadership through the lens of analysis, action and adaptation, our perspective on great leadership changes. We no longer see great leadership tied to specific personality characteristics. Rather, great leadership becomes more like a mentality and point of view that individuals either take to or run from.How can companies develop strategies that strengthen the leadership potential of employees?

  1. Integrate leadership development into your company culture from the start. Don’t assume talent will cultivate itself. Instead expose employees to programs and opportunities to build their leadership muscle.
  2. Create environments where employees are challenged. Those moments of challenge help managers see which employees thrive in difficult scenarios and those that welcome the changing circumstances.
  3. Discuss leadership openly with employees in a way that welcomes progress rather than perfection. Don’t assume that an individual’s first chance at leading will be perfect; it probably won’t be anything close to perfect. But if leadership is a muscle, then the best thing managers can do is give employees the opportunity to break that muscle and rebuild it again.


Great. We are ready to help you get there. Our team has helped guide companies internationally through customized leadership training that puts individuals and teams in the right direction. We work on the belief that businesses can never be great without great leadership across the entire enterprise.

It’s time to focus equally on strengthening business and leadership performance. Let’s get started!