Ben's session was on how to develop a leadership training program. He started the program out by asking us one simple question, "Do you think leaders are born or made?" My initial instinct was to say, "Duh...they are born with it." Being the introvert that I am, I said nothing. Neither did anyone else!
So he had us all ball up a piece of paper. Those folks that thought leaders are born, were to thrown their paper towards the left side of the room. Those folks that thought leaders are made, were to throw their paper towards the right side of the room. There weren't too many of us throwing our papers on the left side of the room.
The next statement sounded so simplistic that I almost was embarassed that he knew which side of the room I threw my paper on. Ben said, "If leaders are born, then why do we have tons of consultants teaching Leadership Development Programs?" Ok - so what had I missed. He was right. We as HR professionals tend to look for the quick fix. We want to find that next leader that is ready to go so we can move on to the next firefight.
My challenge to you today is simple. When you are looking for your next leader, look at the potential to make someone a leader. Don't just look for the natural born ones. You never know what introvert is waiting in the wings!