Ask Ty...November 5 [The Leadership Question]

It must be Tuesday Thursday, Middlespacers, because I'm answering your questions
Q: Dear Ty,
The other night me and Mrs. Grayman got into a semi-heated discussion regarding whether or not Leaders are made or born.

Mrs. Grayman believes Leaders are born with something that cannot be trained.

I believe Leaders are made and that if someone is trainable then they can be a leader.

What do you think?

- Grayman

: Good question and an even better observation, Grayman. Ahh, leadership. The singularly most important characteristic of moguls, titans, generals, quarterbacks, kings, and soccer moms. I could go on and on about "charisma," "nature vs. nurture," and information "in the literature."

But you specifically asked, "what do you think?" in this very special Ask Ty.... So I'll riff sans research or the "Googles" or even the wacky-pedia on the World Wide. I'll just riff. Decisively. Like a leader does. So follow me followers.

Point for Mrs. Grayman. The ability to lead, I believe, is something that people are indeed born with. This aspect is binary. You either have it or you don't. Some people have the propensity for logic. Others are born to play tennis.

And point for Mr. Grayman. You can teach leadership. With appropriate training a leader can flourish. Some people, when given the opportunity, can step into very large shoes.

BUT, in order to develop as a leader one must first must have the innate trait. You cannot grow corn if there are no seeds in the soil, right? But left alone that corn seed could grow, albeit scraggly and underdeveloped like the ghetto children. If the corn seeds are tended, nourished, and loved...well, you get my drift. Not all pit bulls are killers. I can give a million analogies.

Yet, some "leaders" are given the reigns of power without training or any demonstration of a natural ability. This, however, is a separate category reserved for families with a history of wealth and power. Kim Jung Il, George W. Bush, Katie Couric, and Idi Amin Dada come to mind first (not a political statement, just what came to mind). Not to say these people don't possess a degree of natural or learned charisma.

So, the Mr. and the Mrs. Grayman each have one point. This particular less-than-heated debate needs appropriate adjudication. Since I'm leading here, we will not have a tie!

So here's my decision: Mrs. Grayman wins. She wins based on the information I have available. Since I am not privy to any additional data or debate points from you guys, I have to side with the Mrs. Here's why: Mr. Grayman typed, "I believe Leaders are made." That is an absolute that is highly debatable. But you also support Mrs. Grayman's argument with the following, "and that if someone is trainable then they can be a leader." That "if" and "then" is the part a leader is born with. Your argument would have been that it wouldn't matter. You, my friend, give the Mrs. the win.

If someone does not have the capacity to be a leader, training may be for naught. There has to be something there to develop. That's why the military has multiple layers of screening for leadership positions. That's why Joe Blow in shipping and receiving doesn't tell the CEO how to run the company. Trading Places wasn't a documentary.

Congratulations Mrs. Grayman you are the New Yor Jankees of the leadership debate with your husband. You have won the following: ONE MONTH OF BREAKFAST IN BED AS PREPARED AND SERVED BY MR. GRAYMAN.

Your Dear Leader has spoken. Be gone with you! No appeals.

Just a guess,