Can Leadership Be Taught? Exploring Scholarly Articles And Perspectives

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Are you unsure whether leadership ability is an inherent trait or a teachable skill? This question has been the center of numerous academic debates, especially with compelling research supporting both sides.

This insightful blog post will dissect various scholarly articles and perspectives to help shed light on this intriguing matter. Stick around if you want to explore strategies for becoming a more effective leader!

Key Takeaways

  • Leadership can both be taught and have innate traits. Scholarly articles discuss arguments for and against teaching leadership, with some emphasizing the importance of learned skills and others highlighting the role of inborn qualities.
  • Leadership educators should consider incorporating innate traits and learned skills in their development programs to create well-rounded leaders. Experiential learning opportunities like simulations and group projects are also essential for effective leadership education.
  • Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective leadership, enhancing relationship-building skills and promoting a positive work environment. Training programs can focus on self-awareness exercises and coaching interventions to develop emotional intelligence in leaders.

Perspectives on Whether Leadership Can Be Taught

can leadership be taught scholarly articles

Scholarly articles have explored whether leadership can be taught, arguing for and against teaching leadership and considering innate traits versus learned skills.

Scholarly articles exploring the question

Scholarly articles dig into this big question a lot. Some say, yes, leadership can be taught. Others think no, it’s something you’re born with. These articles use studies and research to back up their views.

One group of scholars tells us that both in-born traits and learned skills make a leader. They say we can shape success through good lessons from history and real-life practice. Colleges teach these skills in special programs.

However, another set of scholars disagrees; they believe some people are just born leaders.

Arguments for and against teaching leadership

Some people think you can teach leadership. They say that skills like problem-solving, making choices, and helping others are what leadership should be taught well in school. Anyone who wants to be a leader can learn these skills.

On the other hand, some folks argue against this idea. They believe leaders are born, not made. They point out traits like drive, empathy, and curiosity, which have come naturally since childhood.

Both sides make valid points on whether leadership can be taught or not. There is, of course still an ongoing debate about it.

The role of innate traits and learned skills

Innate traits play a big part in leadership. Some kids show signs of being leaders at a young age. They have drive, empathy, and curiosity. These traits can hint at their future ability to lead others.

Yet, not all parts of leadership come from birth. Many important skills must be learned and practiced. Training is key for this process. It helps people learn how to solve problems, lead and motivate teams, and make good choices.

A mix of both these things and knowledge can create effective leaders. Innate qualities give some people an early start in the race toward leadership roles, but practice and knowledge take them across the finish line.

Implications for Leadership Educators

can leadership be taught scholarly articles

Leadership educators must understand the different perspectives on whether leadership can be taught and incorporate innate traits and learned skills in their development programs.

They should also provide opportunities for experiential learning to enhance their students’ leadership capabilities.

Understanding the different perspectives

Leadership experts and scholars have different viewpoints regarding whether leadership can be taught. Some argue that leadership is an innate trait that individuals are born with and cannot be developed through education or training.

They believe great leaders possess certain qualities and abilities from the start, such as charisma, confidence, and decisiveness. On the other hand, some believe that while some people may naturally possess certain traits associated with leadership, anyone can develop and improve their leadership skills through learning and practice.

When considering the question of whether leadership can be taught, it’s important to recognize that both nature (innate traits) and nurture (learned skills) play a role in effective leadership development.

Research has shown that while some individuals may have a natural inclination toward leading others, most effective leaders acquire their skills over time through experience, mentorship, and formal education.

Understanding these perspectives is crucial for leadership educators who aim to provide comprehensive development programs. By incorporating elements related to both innate traits and learned skills into their curriculum, they can help students enhance their existing strengths while also developing new competencies necessary for effective leadership.

Incorporating both innate traits and learned skills in leadership development programs

Leadership development programs should incorporate innate traits and learned skills to foster well-rounded and effective leaders. While some people may naturally possess certain qualities that make them more likely to become leaders, it is important to recognize that leadership can also be developed through intentional learning and practice.

Incorporating innate leader traits means identifying individuals who show early indicators of leadership potential, such as intelligence, drive, empathy, emotional intelligence (EQ), curiosity, humility, and integrity.

By recognizing these qualities in individuals from a young age, organizations can provide targeted support and opportunities for leadership and skill development.

On the other hand, incorporating learned skills involves providing training and educational experiences that enhance core leadership competencies. This includes teaching essential skills like effective communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities are crucial components of effective leadership.

Providing opportunities for experiential learning

Experiential learning plays a crucial role in leadership education. Instead of just sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures, students get hands-on experiences that help them develop their leadership skills.

This type of learning involves active techniques like simulations, group projects, and real-world problem-solving activities. By participating in these activities, students can practice their decision-making abilities, work effectively with others in teams, and enhance their communication and problem-solving skills.

Research has shown that experiential leadership education effectively develops the necessary competencies for successful leaders. Therefore, incorporating opportunities for experiential learning into leadership development programs is essential.

In experiential learning, college students can apply what they have learned practically. This helps them understand how theoretical concepts relate to real-life situations and prepares them for the challenges they may face as future leaders.

Additionally, through experiential learning activities such as case studies and simulations, students can gain insights into different aspects of leadership and develop a deeper understanding of themselves as leaders.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Development

Emotional intelligence is crucial in effective leadership, enhancing relationship-building skills, and promoting a positive organizational climate. Explore strategies for developing emotional intelligence in leaders and discover real-life examples of successful leadership development programs.

Discover how emotional intelligence can shape the future of leadership education. Read more to understand the significance of emotional intelligence in leadership development.

The importance of emotional intelligence in effective leadership

Effective leadership requires more than just technical skills and knowledge. Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in leading others successfully. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can understand and manage their own emotions, as well as empathize with the emotions of others.

This allows them to build strong relationships, motivate their team members, and make better decisions based on emotional cues.

Research has shown that leaders with high emotional intelligence are likelier to create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported. They are also better equipped to handle conflicts and difficult situations calmly and diplomatically.

Emotional intelligent leaders excel at communication, active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution – all essential qualities for effective leadership.

To develop emotional intelligence in leaders, training programs can focus on self-awareness exercises, such as reflection journals or personality assessments. These exercises help leaders understand their emotions, values, and behaviors.

Additionally, coaching interventions that provide feedback from multiple sources can enhance self-awareness and facilitate growth in areas that need improvement.

Strategies for teaching and developing emotional intelligence

One strategy for teaching and developing emotional intelligence is through coaching. Research has shown that coaching interventions can significantly improve the emotional competence of leaders.

By working closely with a coach, leaders can learn how to understand better their own emotions and the emotions of others, as well as develop strategies for effectively managing those emotions in different situations.

This personalized approach allows leaders to receive feedback and guidance tailored to their needs, helping them enhance their emotional intelligence skills.

Another effective strategy is incorporating experiential learning opportunities into leadership development programs. This involves providing real-life scenarios or simulations where leaders can practice applying their emotional intelligence skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Through these experiences, they can gain hands-on experience in understanding and managing emotions, making empathy-based decisions, building relationships, and resolving conflicts.

Case studies and examples of successful leadership development programs

Successful leadership development programs have been implemented in various organizations and educational institutions. For example, a study found that coaching interventions significantly improved leaders’ effectiveness, skills, and emotional competence.

By providing personalized guidance and feedback, coaches were able to enhance the leadership capabilities of participants.

Another case study focused on college students participating in a leadership development program. The program included courses on leadership theory, management, and practice and team-based projects.

The results showed significant improvements in participants’ leadership potential and problem-solving abilities.

Furthermore, an organization implemented a leadership development program emphasizing emotional intelligence’s importance (EQ). Through workshops and training sessions, participants learned strategies for developing their EQ skills, such as self-awareness, empathy, and relationship management.

This approach resulted in stronger relationships among team members and enhanced overall organizational performance.


In conclusion, whether these leadership competencies can be taught remains a subject of ongoing debate in scholarly circles. While some argue that innate traits and qualities are essential for effective leadership, others believe leadership skills and competencies can be developed through education and training programs.

Incorporating innate traits and learned skills in leadership development programs, providing opportunities for experiential learning, and focusing on emotional intelligence may be key to successfully teaching and developing future leaders.

Ultimately, the future directions in leadership education will evolve as research advances and new perspectives emerge.

The ongoing debate and future directions in leadership education.

The ongoing debate in leadership education revolves around whether leaders are born or made. Some argue that certain individuals possess innate traits and qualities that make them natural leaders, while others believe that leadership can be taught and developed through education and training.

Scientific evidence suggests a genetic component to leadership potential but is not the sole determining factor. The future direction of leadership education lies in finding a balance between recognizing the importance of innate traits and skills, such as emotional intelligence and problem-solving abilities, and providing opportunities for learning and development.

Leadership educators should focus on incorporating experiential learning methods, teaching strategies to enhance emotional intelligence, and offering case studies of successful leadership development programs to better prepare individuals for effective leadership roles.

In conclusion, the ongoing debate about whether leadership can be taught continues to shape the future directions of leadership education. While some argue for the importance of innate traits in determining one’s ability to lead effectively, others emphasize the role of education and training in developing necessary skills.

The key lies in finding a balance between recognizing inherent qualities and providing growth opportunities. As research advances and more insights are gained into what makes an effective leader, it will become increasingly important for educational programs to evolve accordingly.


1. What is the view of scholarly articles about leadership being taught?

Scholarly articles from higher education often discuss the decades-long debate on whether leadership can be taught or if it’s linked to behavior or trait theory.

2. How important are problem-solving and motivation in leadership competency?

Problem-solving and motivation are key in leadership competency, shaping the organization, values, vision, responsibility, and influence.

3. Can transformational leadership improve through educational leadership preparation?

Yes! Transformational leadership can grow with proper educational preparation that builds on interests and strengths.

4. Does a quantitative research study show differences between groups in learning leadership skills?

A descriptive quantitative research study may find significant differences between different groups given two years of the same learning time.

5. Can someone learn quality health response and diversity aspects under teaching Leadership?

Teaching Leadership includes guiding learners to understand their responsibility for quality health responses and valuing diversity, significantly impacting their influence as leaders.