First, let take a good look at these babies (below). Now would you be able to tell who will grow up to be a leader and who will not? Just by looking at their faces…
The obvious answer is that you can’t. Nobody can. Leadership has no mark on a newborn child. So whether a child (like you and me) grows up to be a leader or follower is a matter of CHOICE. This is the majority view. There are of course some who were born to be leaders and they are fewer in numbers. And even for that not many of those born to be leaders are able to be good leaders. Those born as leaders are mostly out of royalty and political dynasties. So while their father may be a great leader, it does not mean that the lineage will. be one. Because science has proven that leadership is not hereditary (ie qualities not through DNA). The only true-born leaders are what we accept as our Prophets (ie people ordained by God to lead).
So if we take these pie chart (below) numbers and cut the green into half, made-to-be-leaders easily constitute 2/3 of all leaders out there. But take this study with a pinch of salt as the 1/3 of hand-me-down-leaders are in that position by default and therefore given the leadership without necessary character and ability to perform.
Hence, generally, leaders are made. So the question is how are leaders made? Fortunately, there are many ways in which a leader is made. It can be through one or a combination of the following: self-education, it can be through a conducive environment, it can be situational (thrown into the set), it can be through guidance and mentoring, and it can be through trials and experience.
But the one thing for sure is that ultimately whether you are cut to be a leader or not depends on your chosen pathway. Eg if you have the qualities but you do not pursue and take the opportunities, your leadership quality will be a hidden talent. It is therefore important that you consciously take the path of leadership. And this you can secure by taking steps to learn and finding opportunities where your skills can be seen.
Leadership therefore will not shine automatically. it has to be activated. it has to be ‘switched on’. It has to be practised (because leadership is not theoretical, it is a practical subject matter). Leadership, like justice and kindness, MUST BE SEEN.
Now before you ask yourself whether you are a leader or not, you must first ask yourself, do you want to be a leader? Because if you do not want to be a leader, if you are comfortable with being a follower, you will not be a leader even if you are potentially a good one. If you want to be a leader, you can start from ground zero and work on how to be a leader (using one of the ways described earlier).
To make yourself a leader is to be on the pathway. Being on that pathway will earn you more and better respect from the people. Because in the end, we all want to follow a leader that does not just lead, but able to create more leaders (only those who were once on a leadership pathway would know how to make leaders out of others).
Do not confuse this leadership with the self-leadership that we have covered before. It’s a different leadership scenario. While everyone can attain the benefit of leading themselves (and this is a starting point of real leadership) it does not follow that they will therefore be able to lead others. Leading others requires a wholly new skill set.
What is the fastest way therefore to be a leader? The answer: 1. you must be an extrovert (which like leadership is mostly made and not born) 2. you must have a high sense of self-worth and self-esteem 3. you need to have great interpersonal skills 4. you need a mentor or mentors (save you the trouble of personal trials and errors) 5. you need to apply (this you can only do by volunteering or securing a leadership position eg by being a team leader or manager etc). Do all the 5 and you are harnessing your leadership qualities.
Lastly, on the question of whether an introvert can be a good leader…By nature introverts are people who keep things to themselves, They are reserved and able to go without companions. These are traits that go against the qualities of being a great leader. There is not a single great leader in recorded history that I know who was an introvert. Because a great leader must be able to influence others (that alone requires much sharing, openness, oratorical skills etc etc). Even in my Public Speaking training, we try to get the introverted person to shed off that trait and adopt a more open and expressive attitude. Because an introvert cannot be an effective public speaker. An extrovert person also listens before making a decision. That listening and decision-making abilities can be exhibited whether you are an introvert or extrovert. But to move people, mountains, and the world, you have to be an extrovert.
It is a choice created by habit and permissible environment. So whichever category you fall under there is no right or wrong answer because it depends on who you want to be. Both are thinkers. They are different in just how they expressed themselves. A great leader eg a military commander, a head of state etc is of the extrovert lot simply because the ability to influence others is a quality that exists in an extrovert.