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TCK: There is no Inevitability in Leadership

Recently I’ve been studying up on leadership in on of my psychology classes and I can’t help but to think how many times I’ve heard that TCKs often become equipped with incredible leadership skills. Skills such as a deep empathy for others, critical thinking skills on the spot, adaptability, people reading, confidence in the unfamiliar, clear communication, cross cultural awareness, and the list goes on. There’s a good reason that many people believe that TCKs make great leaders and it’s because leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

For a long time there were two reigning theories surrounding leadership; the great man theory, and the trait theory, both of which are built upon the assumption that leadership is in your DNA, and you’re either born with it, or you’re not.

Being a TCK is not something you’re born with, sure it’s something you can be born into, but your DNA doesn’t determine your lifestyle. That one rests solely on nurture side of the debate. It’s the way a person grows into their identity and the behaviors which come about through their experiences that garner the different skills, reactions an varying abilities of the TCK.

In walks the situational approach to leadership, the basic idea of this one is that great leaders may never have been great had they never been presented with the right circumstances to be.

Just as there are infinite ways to lead, just as there are infinite ways to walk your TCK journey, some choose to take charge blatantly, and others carry quietly supporting in both leadership and identity.

With all of the excitement around leadership skills, and the incredible built in skills that TCKs develop through their lives, I’d also like to touch on the fact that not all TCKs have to be leaders, and not all leaders are TCKs. Yes, there are many leaders who are TCKs or share many of the incredible qualities that this identity has naturally developed, but there’s no pressure. There’s no need to be a leader if you are a TCK. Much like the situational approach, if you’re never presented with the opportunity to lead, it doesn’t mean you have to or inevitably will in the future just because you are a TCK.

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