Some Leaders are Born, Others are Made


Two Types of Leaders

There are basically two types of leaders: Those who are born and those who are made. Those who are born are persons who inherit their leadership from one or both parents, or spouses who are already leaders in specific fields. Those who are made are people who became leaders through achievement–self-made leaders who acquire their leadership through hard work, creativity, and achievement.

We can call the first type of leadership as leadership by ascription and the other as leadership by achievement. Ascribed leadership is more popular in rural communities or societies, while the achieved leadership is more prevalent in highly urbanized and complex society such as those found in the mega cities of United States, Europe, and Asia. Since success in capitalist societies is measured in terms of productivity, hard work, and increasing wealth, entrepreneurs and managers who dominate the market through innovation and strategy are often judged as great leaders in the corporate world. In today’s digital technology, success is measured in terms of followers in the social media and blogs, online sales, websites’ popularity in Alexa, etc. Great innovators and entrepreneurs who take advantage of the opportunities created by this technology are now billionaires and seen as emerging leaders in global business. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos, to name a few, became great leaders because of their creativity and determination to create their niche in the field of computer, technology, and online business. And there are more new and young leaders following their footsteps.


Achieved leadership More Preferred in Current Age

American society is a highly urbanized capitalist society and it provides more prestige to achieved than ascribed leadership, especially to those who are great innovators and inventors in the field of intellectual property, technology and entrepreneurship. Ascribed leadership is less praised in contemporary society as people would think that their leadership and wealth are acquired through their parents’ prestige and popularity. Of course, there are cases that the children of rich people can surpass the leadership of their parents and create their own niches. Take for example, Enrique Razon, one of the riches people in the Philippines. He inherited the container terminal services business of his parents. but he surpassed it, making it a multinational company from being a local business. He also ventured into resort and casino business. Others also built upon their inherited fortune to create companies that far exceed those of their parents or spouses  such as the Koch Brothers or L’Oreal’s Liliane Bettencourt. The Indian billionaire Azim Premji also exceeded the business leadership of his father. “In 1966, 21-year-old Azim Premji dropped out of Stanford in the wake of his father’s death to take the helm of his father’s company Western India Vegetable Products — later renamed Wipro. It was under Premji’s leadership that the company diversified into toiletries and bath products and, eventually, IT, and the company grew exponentially” [1].


The current global economy reserves its awe and respect to new breed of business leaders who have established niches for themselves in a spectacular and extraordinary manner. Those who created wealth without huge productive capital except their creativity, innovation, and technical knowledge of the current technologies. are hailed as new heroes of global business compared to those who inherited their wealth and position. We are currently living in the information society where the main source of wealth is not land or physical assets but knowledge. In today’s global economy. what is important is not the physical product or service itself but the idea, formula, or trade secret behind its creation.


New Breed of Leaders

The currency of the today’s trade is not gold but intellectual property that is based on creative knowledge, on copyright, patent, and trademark. The new leaders and heroes of the current global economy are creative people with technical knowledge of the latest technology and creativity in the realm of intellectual property (IP). And most of them are young people, “billionaires in jeans or denims” led, of course, by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Gaining such wealth and leadership in the social media at such a young age is unthinkable in the olden times before the advent of the digital technology. One can only be wealthy and recognized a business leader after long years of accumulation and hard work. But the current technological age can produce new leaders and billionaires in such a short period without much capital. The only main capital is creativity and innovation in the area of intellectual property and technology. According to, the 10 richest billionaires are under 35 years old. It is is interesting to note that many in the list became leaders and billionaires because of their leadership in technology and social media and not through inheritance from their parents:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg, 33 years old, worth $56 billion (Facebook)
  2. Lukas Walton, 31 years old, worth $11.3 billion  (Walmart)
  3. Dustin Moskovitz, 33 years old, worth $10.7 billion (Facebook)
  4.  Scott Duncan, 34 years old, worth $5.7 billion (Energy Pipeline)
  5. Bobby Murphy, 28 years old, worth $4 billion (Snapchat)
  6. Evan Spiegel, 27 years old, worth $4 billion (Snapchat)
  7. Nathan Blecharczyk, 34 years old, worth $3.8 billion (Airbnb)
  8. Caroline Hagen Kyos, 33 years old,  worth $2.5 billion (Canaca)
  9. Tatiana Casiragni, 33 years old, worth $2.4 billion (Columban brewery)
  10. Julio Mario Santo Domingo, 32 years old, $2.4 billion (Beer business)

In today’s world, leadership in business through achievement in technology and social media is more preferred and praised by people than leadership through ascription or inheritance. In the current technological age, we can become the business leader we want to be even if we don’t have much productive capital as long as we are creative, innovative, and persistent with our goals and dreams in doing business!

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