Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Saturday 15 March 2008

Are leaders born or made?

Can you learn to be a leader? Is leadership a quality you are born with? I would say the latter, but the quality has to be developed. There is a lot you have to learn and then you also need opportunity to rise to the occasion as a leader. In an orchestra or in a quartet the first violinist is taking the lead in making music. I played in the orchestra of my school, in the Utrecht conservatorium orchestra and a few student orchestras and chamber music ensembles. A few times I was the first violinist. Many violinists want to be that and work hard to achieve the position. Mostly in vain. My teacher always said it is not about being in that position, it is about your drive to re-create together the music the composer has written. Not surprisingly in post war Europe, he was a bit suspicious about ‘leaders’. You just have to translate the word into German and you know why. He said you are born with a talent and by practicing hard you can develop it. Then circumstances may offer you the opportunity. If you are humble inside you will see what is an opportunity and what is not. I had to think of him when I was reading an article about the leadership of Ghandi and one about the characteristics of leadership.

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