People struggle with this question and some even outrightly reject the possibility that everyone can be a leader. Tim Elmore answered this well in this blog. I have included some excerpts but i encourage you to read the full article.
The answer of course is yes and no. (How’s that for a politically correct answer?) It all depends on how you define the word “leader.” If you define it in the traditional fashion—that a leader is someone with a position, in charge of a group of people in an organization—then, the answer is no, in my opinion. Not everyone and certainly not every student is gifted to become the president, the chairman, the CEO or the key leader of a large team of people. Most will never occupy a top spot in a flow chart. Perhaps only ten percent of the population will.
I teach that every student who is willing has the potential to lead and influence others—even if they are introverts. They may never be “Leaders” (possessing a gift for leadership) but they’re already “leaders” (they have influence). For years I’ve reminded people that sociologists tell us the most introverted of people will influence 10,000 others in an average lifetime (click to tweet). In others words, every one of us, even the shy ones, are influencing others. My question is: what breadth of influence could people have who become intentional about it?
Naturally, some folks are going to turn out to be better leaders than others. Some will actually become excellent at organizing large teams of people, or at speaking to large groups of people and casting vision to them. But leadership isn’t limited to these skills. If it’s only for the skilled people, then we’ll never accomplish the good that needs to happen in our lifetime. It would be like saying that no one has to serve who doesn’t have the gift of service; or that you don’t have to pay taxes if you don’t have lot of money. That’s ludicrous. We all have the responsibility to do what we can—based upon our strengths.
So, let’s embrace it. Let’s learn to lead and influence in a manner appropriate with our giftedness, and not excuse ourselves because we’ll never be Mother Teresa, or Colin Powell or Bill Gates. Leadership is a calling on every one of us, to some degree. It’s about becoming the person we were meant to be. It is less about position and more about disposition. It is not so much about superiority but about service in the area of our strengths. It has less to do with a set of behaviors and more to do with a perspective with which we view life.
When we define it this way, it puts the cookies on the bottom shelf. Every one of us can do it. Everyone is a leader.