Recently I was tasked to write an essay on whether a leader is born or if a leader is made (trained). This is an extension of the age old question that asks, what came first? The chicken or the egg? Jokes aside, the question on whether leadership (or any other skill/ability) is innate and inborn or is it something you can acquire with training and experience. The answer may not be as simple and it may be difficult to answer that question in a 500 word essay. However, the fact is whether you’re aware of it or not and whether you like it or not, you are influencing (leading) people every day. I would like to illustrate this fact with two short video clips.

  • Time: 2 minute read (412 words)
  • Video 1: 1:33
  • Video 2: 6:20
  • Total time: 10 minutes

The point of this article is simple. In our everyday interactions with people we influence them. As we carry out our duties we interact with people and through these interactions we influence. Most people believe what they say and do does not carry much weight. So whether you like someone’s idea for a project or commented on a proposal to you it’s just ‘your opinion’ nothing more than that. However from the vantage point of the other person it could be a completely different picture. Depending on whether they value your opinion or not it could be seen as the encouragement they needed or alternatively the confirmation they need to prove their idea is not worth the effort.

I have often referred to the not-quite-Oscar-nominated Street Fighter movie (circa 1994) to illustrate how we can have a profound effect on people without even knowing that we have the power to influence others. This first short video clip (1:33) illustrates how one person is influenced by another person without their even knowing the person exists. In the clip below, and I trust you appreciate the subtle attempt at humour, we see how a person (Chun Li) can decide on a path in life based on an interaction with a leader (Gen. Bison) without the leader even knowing.

The classic line: “To me… it was Tuesday” summarizes how most of us interact with followers. It’s just another day. However in the short video below (6:20), Drew Dudley describes how “just another day” can also inspire others to positive action.

In conclusion: As you are going about your day. Whether you are in a leadership position or not. Whether you have many followers or none. Remember that your actions and interactions have an effect whether you like it or not.