Are Managers Born or Made? 2

Is good management a natural aptitude that someone is either born with or not? Or must talent first be developed through training and experience? This is an interesting question to ask, because it leads to another, more pressing one: can anyone be a manager?

Arguing the case that managers are born

If you wanted to make this side of the argument, you would say that not everyone is cut out to be a manager – and that sounds like a fair statement to make.  What’s more, not everyone even wants to be a manager.

Some people are definably more predisposed to being a manager than others. There are certain characteristics you need, such as leadership, emotional intelligence, and being able to inspire implicit trust. Some people are born with these kinds of characteristics, and if not, it can be difficult to instil them. But is it impossible?

Arguing the case that managers are made

Let’s look at the other side of the argument. There is good reason to believe that managers can be made, whether through formal training or experience, or preferably a combination of both.  

True, some individuals quite simply are natural-born leaders and it’s evident from the start. But in the same way that you can say no one is born an artist, only born with artistic talent, you could say that a manager still needs some form of development to develop what natural talent they have.

Sure, some people may intuitively know how to lead and manage, but that doesn’t mean that some training, such as in the form of a management diploma, isn’t needed to help a candidate make the most of their natural abilities.

As is usually the case with nature versus nurture debates, the answer will probably be found somewhere in the middle. Some natural leadership talent would be ideal, and it’s probably true that some are more naturally inclined to this type of role than others. However, learning will enhance what nature has already instilled.

Can anyone be a manager?

Maybe everyone has the potential to be a manager, and that potential can be coaxed out.  Some needing just a bit more help than others. But what if there are people born without any potential?

However, perhaps we’re looking at this question the wrong way. We’re looking at it as if there is a spectrum of talent. On the one side, is someone born with talent aplenty, a born manager. On the other end, there is someone with no natural talent, who can only hope to become a manager with training, if at all.

However, what if there are different management styles. In that case, the question you should be asking about potential managers isn’t how much potential talent they have, but what kind of manager will they be, and what formal training or experience will let them blossom in their unique leadership style. 


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2 thoughts on “Are Managers Born or Made?

  • Des Squire

    My belief is that both apply for the simple reason management ability may be lying dormant and is only brought to the fore as a result of circumstances and training. We all have certain skills and abilities and many of these we are not aware of until circumstances force us to use them. 

    The same I believe applies to management styles. managers must manage people and recognise each as an individual and unique personality. It is the subordinate style and behaviour that will dictate the managers response and not vice versa. This unfortunately is where most managers fail today – they believe in their personal style of management and fail to realise they must manage individuals as individuals and not in terms of their individual style. Teams unite due to the diversity that exists within the team – (there is unity in diversity) – it is the managers responsibility to lead, guide and direct the team based on the culture that exists within the team. This culture is developed from the norms, values and beliefs of the team members. A leader of such a team will develop if and when he/she takes cognisance of the team culture and manages and develops the individuals as individuals each of whom plays an important role in the team.