Are Great Leaders Born or Made?

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Collectively our group is very proud to have had careers as enlisted Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen.  Enlisted personnel comprise over 81 percent of the armed forces of the United States.  Enlisted people are generally the “doers” of the force and we are all very happy to have played a role in the greatest military the world has ever seen.

Make no mistake however, in any organization good leadership is needed at every level.  When we joined the military our roles were initially as followers.  It was not long until we all led small groups which then evolved into larger and larger groups.  As “doers” our early focus was largely tactical but as we conducted actual operations,  gained experience and played a role in senior leadership our focus moved to a strategic leadership level.

In all cases we learned from our experience and used that experience to inform our leadership roles as we moved higher and higher in our respective organizations.

So… while some people may have innate personalities that make some leadership tasks easier the fact is that leadership is really learned through experience, from senior mentors and over time.  It is our hope that Breaching the Summit can provide some ideas that will help you in your leadership task.

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