mark zuckerbergCEOs, like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, are made, not born.Justin Sullivan/Getty
Are CEOs born or made? According to entrepreneur-turned-top venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, most of the tricky skills needed to excel are drummed into leaders through years of experience.
Likening critical CEO capabilities, such as giving difficult feedback, to learning the unnatural motion of lifting your back foot first in boxing, he claims "it generally takes years for a founder to develop the CEO skill set." In short, Horowitz insists CEOs are made, not born.
But just because becoming an exceptional leader takes a whole lot of practice, it doesn't mean everyone can become a CEO through hard work. While you invite disappointment if you believe some people are simply naturals at the job, you invite years of wasted effort if you don't also acknowledge that certain fundamental mindsets are a prerequisite for getting started on this long path of learning.
What are they? Experts suggest you need to nail these basics before you can even start to think of yourself as potential CEO material.

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