Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bosses are made, leaders are born

For a long time, I admit that I have been wondering what we are born with and what is the result of our education. Father of 2 boys, I educate them the same way and nevertheless, both of them have two very different personalities. As a father, I have concluded that what is taught and understood is a consequence of our personalities.

Look at young children in a sandbox. They play, they have fun, they create groups. Take a large group of 40 kids playing in a sandbox in a public garden.

Suddenly, one child, surrounded by 5 other kids, starts to scream:" I want this, don't do this, play like that, come with me". Tears, complaints, candies, fight sometimes, and then the child plays again, going back to normal.
Ten minutes later, at another angle of the sandbox, a child is playing with a group of children, everything he/she does, the children play with him/her, the child smiles, talks clearly, look at the others in the eye, moves his hand and whatever he proposes, he actually commands, the others follow by magic.

The first one is a future boss, the second one is a future leader.

The first one, for the rest of his life, will learn that compelling desire, solid belief, action plan and determination will be key to his success. He will fight. With hard work, conviction, some intelligence and a zest of chance, he will be able to escalate the ladder of success and make a life. That will make him a boss and eventually a good boss.

The second one, has all of the above but he is born with an additional 5th element: charm. And charm is the supreme power. Charm is what pleases, fascinates and attracts. It is the ultimate spark which creates emotions, presence, impact, applause and fundamental leadership. It takes a second to know if someone has charm. It is our animal instinct which will make us follow this person. Or not.

As ordinary people, we follow bosses by duty, we follow leaders by heart.

Don't try: you have it or not.


  1. Patrick, nice post. I tend to follow your statement by heart :-) However, you can still improve incrementally yout scale of charm. And that is what counts in leadership development. Example, I may never become a star guitarist, but I believe that I can play it fairly well enough for people to enjoy, one day, some day, hopefully :-) Same for leadership.

  2. I agree with Wenyue, there is hope yet.

    More importantly, I would follow a person who leads by example ...