There are some natural leaders, but I think most leaders have a combination of natural ability and desire to lead with lots of learning. I personally look towards mentors who have aspects of leadership that I strive to emulate. One of my former bosses and a good friend, Bruce Carothers, was a respected and loved leader by his teams, who would follow him from company to company to work for him. Bruce was always fair, but one thing (among many others) that I learned from him was to lead with compassion. Even when firing employees for cause, he would exhibit extreme compassion for his people. Another mentor, Jerry Moy, was my Commanding Officer at another Navy Unit. Jerry taught me to only focus on what’s important, and to not create stress over things that wouldn’t matter. The President of my current company, RADM (ret) Ham Tallent, has a unique presence when he deals with people, particularly in stressful situations, that has a calming effect on those around him.
There are numerous other examples of leadership that I’ve seen demonstrated up close as well as from a distance, and whenever I note someone doing something that has a particularly strong effect on me, I try to take note and see if I can incorporate a portion of that into my own leadership style. It’s a continuing journey and path, but it is a very good path.