Leadership: Born or Made?
Nature or Nurture?
…“We have identified a genotype, called rs4950, which appears to be associated with the passing of leadership ability down through generations,” said lead author Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (UCL School of Public Policy). “The conventional wisdom that leadership is a skill remains largely true, but we show it is also, in part, a genetic trait…”
This research compared genetic samples of approximately 4,000 individuals with information about jobs and relationships and found that there was a significant correlation between rs4950 and leadership. Leadership behavior was measured by determining whether or not individuals occupy supervisory roles in the workplace. This research shows that there is some correlation between genetics and leadership, but that leadership predominantly is a skill that can be trained and developed.
It Starts With You
“Leadership has nothing to do with the title on your business card or the size of your office. It’s not about how much money you make or the clothes you wear. It’s is a philosophy. It’s an attitude. It’s a state of mind. And it’s available to each one of us.” – Robin Sharma
3 Ways To Build Great Leaders
Start looking within: Self-awareness. Understanding yourself. Should companies be helping future leaders understand their strengths and weaknesses? What vision do they have for their life? Help them discover what is unique about them. Having a clear view of your passions, interests, and skills. Self-awareness is the most important leadership exercise and prepares for great leadership. Some questions to ask:
- Do you understand and leverage your strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
- How does your leadership impact, other people?
- What is something you truly care about?
- Are your values aligned with your actions?
Keep learning: Leadership is a mindset of constant progression, improvement, and learning. This means leaders should be constantly educated and trained with assignments that will stretch their capacity, self-awareness, and leadership training.
The idea that leaders are born is holding back so many potentially great leaders. It’s a destructive mindset that limits potential. When you believe leadership is the result of your genetics, you’re much less likely to take initiative or focus on personal development. The true leadership challenge might be why only a few of us take time to understand ourselves. It might be why only a few are committed to expressing our unique gifts and talents. Leadership is not something you’re born with or get inherited. Leaders are made when they connect their purpose, unique strengths with a deep passion to make a difference in the world.
Instead of asking “If leaders are born or made”, the real question might be “How well do I know myself, and what message do I want to give the world?”