Some people choose not to be a leader. Some people choose not to change the world. They use the excuse that they aren’t a born leader. Some people, they say, are just natural leaders. But not them.
That’s a pathetic excuse because it’s based entirely on a false premise. No one is a natural leader. Not even you.

Great Leaders by choice
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You are not a natural leader.

You are not an adaptive leader or a leader by circumstance.

You are not a leader because your father or mother was a leader. Or because you were in the Army or Marines.

You are not a leader because you got a Harvard MBA, read some books, listen to some podcasts, or attend some seminars.

You are not a leader because your boss said so, you started a company, or even because your title says “Team Leader.”

You are a leader only by choice.

Great leaders are not born. Great leaders are not made. Great leaders are not taught, trained, appointed, or promoted into leadership.

Great leaders are only great by choice. 


Most bosses and “team leaders” are not leaders. They never choose to be.

They say:

  • Let’s meet our quota
  • We need to reduce turnover. 
  • I think we can cut costs by 10%.
  • I hope I get a raise.
  • I hope I get promoted.
  • When will management do ______?

They never choose to lead.


Most parents are not leaders. They never choose to be.

They say:

  • The world today is so ______.
  • My children are not so bad.
  • But my parents never _____.
  • This is all I know.
  • I’m just trying to make it.
  • When will the schools ______?
  • I hope my children are not like me, but what can I do?
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Meet the quota, make minimal impact, blame society, aim for average, continue the cycle, hope for change, but do nothing to bring it. That is what most people do. They assume that leaders are born:

  • Bold
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent and well-spoken
  • Quick-thinking

Most people think these traits are natural and therefore elusive to the masses. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Great leaders

Great leaders choose to be great. Great leaders choose to:

  • Destroy the quota. (What is a quota anyway?)
  • Change the world. (That’s what I was born to do)
  • Blame no one. (Not even myself…blame takes up precious time)
  • Break destructive cycles and patterns. (In myself, in my business, in my family)
  • Make change happen. (I take action)
  • Step out of their comfort zone. (Because it only boxes me in and holds me back)
  • Be bold and energetic. (Even when I don’t feel like it)
  • Continually learn and practice. (Because I don’t know it all and I never will)

Great leaders choose to be great.

World changers choose to change the world.

Every single day.

What choices can you make today to be a great leader?

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11 thoughts on “Are Some People Just Natural Leaders?

  1. Zechariah Newman says:

    So true Matt! I hope that I continue to grow as a leader until I die. I will choose to lead with energy and passion today. On a side note I deleted all social media off my phone:) If that doesn’t help I am ditching the thing. Thanks for the encouragement in this.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Way to go Zech! That is awesome. Look forward to hearing how it goes for you.

    2. Stephanie Robbins says:

      Good luck on the social media withdrawal. That is a tough one because I do it for a living. So easy to get distracted.

  2. Stephanie Robbins says:

    Love this post! Very true that we make the decision to be a great leader. I think of the interim president for Kentucky State University who shared his salary. He made a choice based on his internal ethics. It wasn’t an easy choice. He didn’t do it for publicity. He did it because it was the right thing to do. We have the choice to ‘do the right thing’ every moment for small and big things

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Interesting. He is definitely showing leadership there.

  3. Isaac Dorrel says:

    This is the one that hit home for me… Blame no one. (Not even myself…blame takes up precious time)

  4. Mike Gonzalez says:

    Good post. There’s not a single person in history that was a great leader by mere chance. It all begins with taking initiative, and choosing yourself.

  5. Heidi Bender says:

    For a long time, I assumed all the great leaders were extroverts, because they are generally good at talking. I was very surprised when I learned about introverts (I am an introvert) and they make great leaders too.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Totally. One of the best leaders I’ve ever known was a total introvert.

  6. Kirbie Earley says:

    BOY I would like to print this and post it at one of my client offices. There was a change in leadership there in January and it has been interesting to watch since then. What is emerging is just this – you can be a boss, but that doesn’t make you a leader. There is one individual there in particular who is a boss but is absolutely NOT a leader, and he is making nearly everyone there absolutely miserable.

    People often think because they are given a title it means they can say or do whatever they want to those ‘beneath’ them, and this is false. Leading doesn’t mean bossing, yelling at, showing jealousy toward, or otherwise belittling people around you, and yet this is what they have now. I am fortunate to be there only 2 days a week, keeping this negative energy to a minimum.

    Goal is not to be there at all, but right now, I need the work so I’m stuck with them. WORKING HARD to change that! This is a great reminder for me on what I need to do to be a great leader! Thanks Matt!

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