Can we all be taught leadership? Or is it an innate quality people are just born with? The truth is, leadership is as complex as DNA itself. There is no leadership “gene”, equally leadership is not a personality trait.

It is important to detach leadership from “personality traits” to allow leadership to take into account social interactions and behavioural change within the organisation.  Some studies have compared leadership to an art as opposed to a science. Leadership contains the art of expressing a group’s identity, building a narrative of “who they are, how they have come to be, as well as where they are going”.


As a result, this identification then informs a leader on what actions to take to be accepted as the leader of the group. Subsequently instead of leadership being an innate quality in a person, it can instead be developed through learning new ideas, theories and putting these into practice.

Learning content and theories is not enough to become a better leader. A major drawback in learning leadership-development approaches is that it does not take into account external environmental changes and demands. For example, no theories could have taught leaders how to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. These approaches assume there is a ‘right’ set of characteristic that will predict leader effectiveness in managing crisis circumstances.

Whilst it is agreed that research of environmental variables that influence how leaders interpret and respond to COVID-19, we cannot know the success of our learning unless it is put into practice. It is important that leadership programmes should instead attempt to develop self-directed learners who are able to reflect and analyse on new environments they find themselves in. 

6 Group partners with organisations around the world to help them create development pathways for their current and future leaders. To discuss how our leadership assessment & development capabilities can support your ambitions, email us at or get in touch via the contact form below.

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