Working across research, administration, marketing, business development, fundraising, executive coaching, leadership development, diversity and inclusion training and finally author, I have led people through disruptive change, or enabled them to lead others in turbulent times; I now know that leadership can be learned.
To lead others you need to show that you can lead and manage yourself. Modern leadership is based on trust, and people trust those who show self control and consistency between words and behaviours. That means having a well developed pre-frontal cortex (PFC), that part of the brain which serves as the ‘executive’ seat of the higher functions, such as self regulation and future planning.
To have a well developed PFC, you need to exercise it, which requires paying focused, conscious attention on your mental and physical behaviours. Self awareness and a motivation to change, develop and improve as a person and a leader is the beginning.
Some scientists say that the human brain is a problem solving engine, others a prediction machine, still others that it is supremely oriented towards achieving goals, notably survival. Unless you are setting the goals for your own brain, the problems you want to solve, the future you want to create, as well as those of others, you will not have the self control, integrity and consistency to be a leader.