Linked In Leadership: An exchange with Suresh Srinivasan

One of the cool parts of linked in is the ability to ask thought provoking questions of people all over the world. I am regularly impressed with the quality of responses I receive.So a week ago I launched a question in Linked In where I asked: how do you develop as a leader?

Over the next few weeks I will share some of the responses I received and my thoughts on the comments and advice. I have to say I do not agree with everything shared. I do believe in seeking common ground so rather than rail on those whose opinions differ I will share where we agree. This first post is no exception. The writer Suresh Srinivasan an Information security consultant form India believes that leaders are made not born. Hmm didn’t I write about this a while ago
The implication of the made side of the leadership argument is that the person has natural abilities that help them to be a leader. The need to develop per se is not that great, they already have it. They can hone their craft but learn it from first principles, no.
Here is what Suresh shared were the traits of great leaders. For the record he is right, these attributes can be found in most effective leaders no argument on this point.

1. Learn Decision-Making Skills. Great leaders have the ability and courage to make decisions… Rather than dwell on a wrong choice, they learn from their mistakes and move forward.

2. Motivate. Persons who lead a team or organization can usually motivate or upbuild others. In order to inspire someone else, leaders recognize the main objective or common goal, and wholeheartedly believe in a vision.

3. Learn to Listen. A good leader will come up with useful ideas. However, a great leader will also listen to his or her team and take their ideas and thoughts into consideration.

Man is he right here! Listening is absolutely critical to leadership success. I think this is one of the seven key tips I shared!
4. Recognize personal shortcomings. Great leaders make mistakes. Rather than feel that their feelings and opinions are always right, they take a candid look at their behavior and traits.

5. Improve oral communication skills. Effective leaders can express their thoughts and visions in a clear and understandable manner.

6. Be a risk taker. There are risks associated with every decision… However, a great leader knows that certain risks are worth taking

7. Be trustworthy. People want leaders who are honorable, dependable and responsible.

A great list indeed! Communicate, be trustworthy listen, take risks, know your shortcomings decide and motivate others. A great list, thank you Suresh.
I believe that leaders are born and made and that great leaders never stop learning how to be better. So maybe leaders are born as Suresh says but certainly in every person their resides the inner potential of leadership they just may never discover it for a myriad of reasons.

The role of leadership development is to help those that have not found it to do so and those that have to be even more of the leader they already are.

Lead well

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Posted in born vs. made, Leader Attributes, Leadership Training, Self Leadership Development
5 comments on “Linked In Leadership: An exchange with Suresh Srinivasan
  1. Will Pearce says:

    I’m not willing to rule out inborn factors when it comes to leadership development. I doubt that all people have the same potential for being excellent in leadership roles of all scopes, for example–some may excel at being leaders of small groups, while others may excel at leading large, complex organizations.

    This phenomenon is explained by Elliott Jaques’ research on “Requisite Organization” theory in which he discovered that people have differing maximum capacities for complexity of information processing. If you’d like to dig into this concept, I’d recommend starting with the readings at PeopleFit’s Learning Library:

  2. Ron Hurst says:

    This is an interesting direction to take the conversation. It is clear that people have different capacities in many areas so why would leadership capacity not be one of them. Great comment. Love the resource is it yours?

  3. Cyril Rayan says:

    I think it is a very interesting thought about capacity of leadership. Some are good to lead a small group, some excel in leading large organizations, whereas some excel in leading as an entrepreneur. Different characteristics are needed for different leadership roles. Based on the dominant characteristics of individuals they can lead effectively in different situations. Winston Churchill was a great war-time leader but lost the elections after winning the war.
    The leaders who are flexible in their leadership styles and understand how to lead based on situations are better equipped to move from one leadership role to the other. for example from leading as an entrepreneur to leading a large corporation. Micheal Dell and Bill Gates come to mind.

  4. isaac s seleka says:

    please! answer this question for me, Are leaders born or trained

  5. Ron Hurst says:


    In a word yes they are. There are many leaders who are born with certain characteristics that help them lead naturally. There are others who discover their desire to lead later on and then go about developing their abilities to do so. So the answer is both born and made. Not trained though leadership comes from within it canot be forced onto someone.

    If leadership cannot be developed I would not be one. If leadership cannot be developed this site and many many others are irrelevant aren’t they?

    Thanks for the question!
    Lead well

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