Why do leaders lead? The quintessential question of MBA and MA programs across the nation. Is it because of some deep seated narcissistic need to be in control or do they feel compelled to lead because no one else will? Definitions are hard sought, debated, and shift like shifting sand on the seashore.

Yet, it seems to me, the question regarding why seem to go rather unasked and maybe even unnoticed.

Now before you brush it off – Sinek, Vaynerchuck, Hyatt (and others) implore us to answer the ‘why’ questions. These questions, in my opinion, are great – even needed, yet I wonder where people would land if they are pressed to answer the question,

Why do you lead?

What compels you to lead?

Why you and not someone else?

I’ve often heard the mantra, “Leaders are made, not born”. Yet, there seems to be something to the idea that some people seem wired to lead. I’ve also heard the answer to the following question,

“Are leaders born or made?”

be a resounding…Both!

Again, maybe I’m missing something here but I haven’t come across a satisfactory answer to the question of why do leaders lead?

It may be a silly (OK stupid) question; or maybe I’m ignorant of the research and work done to answer my question; it may even be that the question is so elementary as to be insulting and demeaning. The kind of question that no one wants to answer. Maybe they think it a trick question with no obvious answer or one of those leading questions that are designed to catch you in an intellectual snare.

Or maybe we are afraid to poke and prod around a bit with this question. Maybe it might open up some realities for us that we don’t want to deal with. And yet this may be where the parallel is found between my question and Sinek et al is meaning to take us.

Could it be that in trying to answer our own question of why we will at some point have to encounter and deal with our deep seated, maybe even dark and uncomfortable answers?

Like the sand, we know that there are multitudes of leaders and have the ability to chafe and find their way into areas we never thought existed.

So…why do leaders lead?

click here for an article from HBR on the question