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Great Leaders: Born or made? An age-old debate

October 5, 2011

In Scott Davis’ post on, Nature vs. Nurture: The Making of Visionary CMOs, he reflects on his colleague’s take on the nature vs. nurture debate. His colleague argues that great leaders are born that way, where as Scott and we here at Linkage feel that great leaders are made!

When discussing leadership and the traits and qualities needed to be an effective leader, we often find ourselves discussing CEOs, COOs, and CFOs. But what about the CMOs!

Davis notes that  “the most successful senior level marketers must bring a blend of creativity, pragmatism, leadership, judgment and vision to their role…But on balance, it’s a role they must grow into. It’s a function of the sum total of experiences, expertise and mindset accumulated and honed over time.” To read Davis’ take on the three specific areas, click here>>

“Many marketers may be predisposed by nature with certain talents that will serve them well in leadership roles. But those must be nurtured and layered with experiences and skills that are acquired over time. And that’s how visionary CMOs are truly made,” says Davis.

Some leaders are born great, but the rest need to be developed. Linkage’s CEO, Phil Harkins and leadership expert Warren Bennis developed a leadership competency, the High Impact Leadership Model, which is based on over 50 years of empirical observation into the behavior and performance of hundreds of thousands of managers and leaders around the world. This observation culminated in a longitudinal study comparing managers and leaders that consistently delivered better results with those who delivered only average results. The behavior-based competencies and skills found to differentiate the two sets make up the competencies, skills, and responsibilities in the model.

This winter, we’ll be hosting our Leadership Academy in Boston, November 29-December 2, 2011. The Academy’s curriculum challenges existing leadership framework and provides new insight for sustainable behavioral change. To learn more, call 781-402-5555.

Dark haired woman watches from audience of conference event

Women in Leadership Institute

NOV. 13–16, 2023 | Orlando, Florida, or Virtual
A 4-day immersive learning experience designed to equip women leaders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles women often face in the workplace.

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