The Point: Perhaps it’s a “haves” versus a “have nots” moment. Better yet, what if the Jones’s in their perpetual conquest to stay ahead of us all, are just plain better at attaining levels that the far majority of us will never “sniff” as a leader? If such rarified air and leadership levels leave you frustrated beyond all contempt, then this post is for you. Here, we’ll take a look at leadership from a nature versus nurture perspective, and if you were hoping that legacy-leadership moments could be yours “just because” you may have another thing coming… Enjoy!
Leadership Legacy Study
The US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health report that if you have predisposal to leadership (i.e., a member of the family is a leader in an organization), you have approximately a 24% chance of likewise attaining such leadership capacity in your own career endeavors. They furthermore drill-down to share that the leadership association is with rs4950, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) which resides on a neuronal acetylcholine receptor gene (CHRNB3 if you’re keeping score at home). While the results are predominantly found in twins, there may be the likelihood (however unlikely) that singletons may have such predisposition as well. Score one for nurture!
Huh? The Leadership Challenge is What?
So with all the leadership challenges surrounding the leader of today, pile one more on top which represents the age old debate whether one is born into a leadership role or one can be shaped/prepared for them. While I’ve spent time working with many a leader over the years, some who had formal education and others that had nothing more than emotional intelligence to run on, one thing has proven consistent… It’s not who you were born from, it’s what you’re born of that matters!
Leadership: It’s Not What You Think
While certain leaders have the fortunate situation of being born into the role, the vast majority earn their stripes (or title in this instance). As such, there is little doubt in my mind that leadership is a dish best served with fresh ingredients (Score one for nurture!) In other words, leaders who have no legacy to uphold typically are afforded greater leeway and latitude, whereby those seeking to uphold such legacy are often weighted down by the burden of upholding what those family predecessors have paved (Score another for nurture!)
Regardless of what the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health purported to learn about leadership, the simple fact is that leaders typically come from a wide range of geography. As such, they have varied backgrounds and often times escalate the career ladder at their own pace. Without knowing what is, or can be, accomplished typically is up to the individual to pursue. While certain organizations provide for an enhanced leadership learning atmosphere, most leaders lead as a result of being given an opportunity and therefore learning “on the fly” or with the help of those around them.
If the leadership challenge at hand is nature versus nurture, nurture prevails. In experience after experience I’ve seen leaders that are made, not born into the role succeed.