Some people seem to be born leaders. They're able to command respect and attention from both peers and staff based on how they carry themselves.
People can also be taught to manage. And while MBA and executive programs pride themselves on their ability to churn out next-generation leaders, ultimately, leadership seems to be an intrinsic quality that one either has or they don't. You can be taught to manage but you can't necessarily be instructed to lead.
With The 83rd Annual Academy Awards just behind us, many of the Best Picture nominees are still fresh in our minds.
In contemplating the winner of the Best Picture category - The King's Speech - it led me to consider the key leadership lessons that CXOs and other decision-makers can draw from King George VI, the famed leader portrayed by actor Colin Firth who guided Britain through the dark days of World War II.
In their recent book, The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win, co-authors Dave and Wendy Ulrich examine how leaders can cultivate and encourage a culture which helps employees to find meaning and purpose in their work.
The Ulrichs cite seven disciplines that leaders can use to build meaning within their organizations and develop a creative environment for employees.
Since Google co-founder Larry Page took the reins as CEO from Eric Schmidt on Jan. 20, there's been no shortage of speculation as to why the changes were made now, what this means for Schmidt's own future and what the changes portend for the world's leading search company.
One thing that is clear is that Page steps into the role at a time when Google is being pressed by shareholders to return to its innovative roots and suppress growing competition from companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Groupon.
When you think of leadership, what springs to mind? Do you think of a particular person whom you feel has emulated the qualities that you look for in a leader? Or do you consider some of the traits that great leaders are known for - people who inspire, those who articulate their vision for an organization well, or perhaps those who have taken a bad or problematic situation and overcame the odds to lead a group of people to success.
There's been a lot of buzz lately about leadership, particularly as the economy shows signs of recovery and companies look to growth - and the people who will lead them to it. When considering leadership, including identifying and grooming would-be future leaders, it begs the question as to whether leadership can be taught. Much has been written already on this topic, and I agree with some authors who have argued that leadership can be taught, to some degree.
You have to love this research: The Harvard Business Review reports that new research demonstrates that "people who are prone to guilt tend to work harder and perform better than people who are not guilt-prone and are perceived to be more capable leaders." The research was conducted by Francis Flynn, the director of the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.
The study was done with about 150 people that worked in the finance department of a Fortune 500 company. The workers were given a standard psychological test that measured the tendency to feel guilt. Then Flynn compared the results with those people's performance reviews. The workers that were more prone to guilt received higher performance ratings from their bosses. Other studies showed they were more committed to their companies and were judged by their peers to be stronger leaders.