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A client recently expressed serious doubts about a supervisor on his team and her ability to develop into the leader he needs her to be.  He voiced the classic statement about leadership, “Some people just weren’t cut out to be leaders.”

He was pretty convinced but I presented him with a different phrase, “Some people just aren’t WILLING to be leaders.”

I believe virtually every person has the ability to be a leader, but only a few are willing to be a leader and do the necessary hard work.

Will is the alignment of your actions and your intent.  It’s that human ability to choose how you will act and behave even when you don’t feel like it or when doubts exist.

“Human will” overcomes incredible odds to accomplish nearly any challenge – physical, socioeconomic, health and leadership.

While one may not have all the skill to tackle the challenges in front of them, a heavy dose of willingness will drive a person to acquire the skills necessary and behaviors to meet the challenge.

The foundation of being a leader is the sheer force of human will – the clear, decisive choice to chart a course and serve followers to achieve the shared goal.

Other words that bring the word “will” to life and speak to nature of a leader are grit, focus, commitment, resolve, determination and desire.  Is there anything a leader can’t learn or do with those characteristics on their side?

As you survey your emerging leader group, certainly look for existing leadership and interpersonal skills and also zero in on their will.  You can teach them virtually every skill they need to know, but you can’t teach them “will.”

Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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