I'm sure for many (maybe even most) of you out there what I'm about to say won't be a shell shocker of an idea. For me though, it was a bit of an 'ah-ha' moment.
Perhaps people don't become great people because of who they are, perhaps they become great people by being great leaders. For instance, perhaps top CEOs don't reach the top because of who they are, they reach the top because of their ability to lead people. I'm thinking specifically in regards to teams here. Perhaps, these great leaders are better at pulling out great ideas from teams. Perhaps they do this by designing the team well - getting the right people in the team to begin with; interacting with the members individually and collectively in a way that makes them feel valued and appreciated - exercising high levels of emotional intelligence; and creating a space that fosters trust - leading to creativity and productive brainstorming. And because they excel at doing all of these things they are able to better utilize their human capital, producing better results. And because they are the leader those results often propel them to higher positions of leadership.
Hmm....what do you think? Again most of you are probably saying, 'Yea....well duh." For me though, this was a breakthrough thought (being vulnerable and honest here). It's not that these great people were born great, it's that they learned to be great, great leaders. Sure, I believe there are some leadership skills that are more innate than others but for the most part, a good portion of leadership skills can be taught - if the potential leader is willing to learn. For me this is encouragement. I want to be a 'Great Person' one day, I want to be a 'Great Leader'. This realization gives me hope that even though I may not be there now, I can grow and develop, and I'll be there one day.