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Are Leaders Born OR Made?

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Louise Dyan Maribao

on 26 September 2014

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Transcript of Are Leaders Born OR Made?

Are Leaders Born OR MAde?
So… are Leaders Born or Made?
Why not both?

Leaders Are Born
Leaders Are Made

Kristy: brain activation & a possible leadership gene
Louise: environmental and contextual factors
Davina: making a newspaper pig and learning about the leadership potential of the class
Luisa: best of both worlds and important practical implications

3 volunteers from each group
Objective: Form a pig, complete with a face, body, legs and tail) out of newspaper in 5 minutes or less

Leaders are born then made

Lets put 5 minutes on the clock…

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born
— that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts
that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or
not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are
made rather than born.” —Warren G. Bennis

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” —
- Vince Lombardi


Kristy : Genetic Pre-Determination

Louise : Prime Influencing Factors

Davina : Group Activity

Luisa : Synthesis

(Farlow, 2012), (Strategic Direction, 2008)

(Farlow, 2012)

Unemployment of the “breadwinner”/ Absence of a father figure

These children attempt to become fantasized father figures in a compensatory effort.
24 British Prime Ministers (66% had lost a father in Childhood)
Great Depression: had to assume responsibility at an early age = these children assumed leadership/management roles years after.

First born children/children perceived as gifted by parents are expected to be role models. (Grow up feeling that taking responsibility and exerting influence on others are their natural roles, which become part of their identity.)

Firstborns= overrepresented in leadership roles (army officers/sergeants)

Born leader - Leadership qualities are innate or genetic and thus impossible to learn.

Made leader–- The is a specific set of skill set that a person has had to acquire. We all have leadership potential.

Lets look at it closer…

Organizations are engaged in a competitive environment and need the right kind of leadership to survive.

Organizations with effective leaders tend to:
Respond to changes in the environment
Creatively address challenges
Sustain high performance.

(Amagoh, 2009)

Implications for Organizations

Focus on recruiting and selecting applicants with leadership potential and motivation to lead
Design and implement a comprehensive and systematic leadership development program that integrates into the organizations culture.
Should have a long term focus.

1. Experienced-based approach.
2. Formal mentoring.
3. Training (workshops)
4. Job enrichment, job rotation, job enlargement

(Amagoh, 2009)
Organizations should..
“Passion, humility, communication skills, negotiation ability, self-determination, innovative mindset are a mix of personality traits with leadership learned skills that being most of them innate and inherent to the emotional profile and personality of an individual, can be improved by proper training and experience in the workplace”. O. Ballesta

“Leadership is a set of skills that can be learned over time. However, you need some in-born talent or “pre-determination” to master the skill.” G. Krstulovic

“Gifted leaders are born with certain supporting traits like patience, perseverance, ability to change. They might have the required traits more than others. But without motivation to lead and continuous training, they will never get to lead” O. Lawrence

“There are traits that some people possess, which may help them become very good leaders, but their actions and implementation decides if they grow up to become good leaders or not” M. Mitra

DAvina Dalton
Kristy Constantino
Louise Dyan Maribao
Luisa Montoya

Natural Born Leaders
1994: 57% association with transformation leadership and genetic factors (Bass & Avolio)
1998: 48% and 59% of variance in the transactional & transformational leadership styles by genetics. (Johnson et al.)
2006: 30% of the variance in leadership role occupancy accounted for by genetic factors (Arvey et al.)
2011: 48% of variance in transformational leadership was accounted for by genetic factors (Li, Arvey, Zhang & Song)

( De Neve et al., 2013)
4,000 Participants
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health & the Framingham Heart Study
Genotype: RS4950
Specific DNA sequence associated with the tendency for individuals to occupy leadership positions and generational passing down of leadership abilities
¼ of variance in leadership behaviours can be explained by genes passed down from parents
Results: significant association with genotype and leadership, measures on whether individuals held a supervisory role in workplace

(Hannah et al., 2013)
103 US Military Officers (87 Male, 16 Female)

Quantitative electroencephalography scans (qEEG)

Leadership self-complexity (LSC) is formed through experiential social learning as leaders establish roles and role sets to meet leadership task demands in a general domain.

Neural networks in the frontal and prefrontal lobes of those deem leaders (Majors) were different from the rest

Areas of brain associated with self-regulation, decision making & memory

Tested leadership and decision-making abilities in a hypothetical tactical military expedition.
Result: Greater neurological (LSC) complexity were found to be more adaptive & effective leaders in experimental scenario

(Waldman, Balthazard & Peterson, 2011)
Electrical activity of brains of senior managers and successful entrepreneurs (50 participants)

Assessment of Coherence, traditional-rated leadership assessment, vision task

Higher level of coherence in the right frontal part of the brain (neural connectivity)

Right frontal coherence was associated with participants who were coded as high on socialized visionary communication (r .36, p .05)

Socialized vision was correlated with follower perceptions of inspirational/charismatic leadership (r .39, p .01).

Right frontal coherence help to form the basis of socialized visionary communication, which in turn helps to build follower perceptions of the leader in inspirational or charismatic terms.

Genetic influence also contributed to personality variables known to be associated with leadership (Arvey, Rotundo, Johnson, Zhang, McGue, 2006)

Social potency, social closeness, achievement traits tested (MPQ) & correlated with transformational & transactional leadership (Johnson et al., 2004)
Social potency .33 correlation

Big 5 Factors correlation with leadership emergence ( Judge et al., 2002)
Extraversion .32
Conscientiousness .28
Openness .24
Neuroticism -.24
Agreeableness- non-significant result

Emotional intelligence (EI) strongly related with leadership (Goleman, 1998)
Females have a higher EI index than males ( Petrides & Furnham, 2006)
Difference in cerebral activity based on gender

Leader Fish Study
(Nakayama et al., 2013)
Individuals who force their preferences on others are more likely to be followed, which in turn encourages these individuals to initiate more often.

Fish: Three-spined sticklebacks (pairs)
10 pairs (20 fish)
Role reversal experiment
Shy fish rewarded with small amount of food (collective movement)
Bolder fish rewarded with small amount food (followed by other fish)
Result: Shy fish could not be trained to lead, even when learnt to stop following the other fish, bolder fish readily adapted to follow.

Implications for Organizations

How organizations address this debate will have an impact on:

Management style
HR Processes (Recruitment and Selection, Training and Development)
Corporate culture
Change Management
Business strategy

Reference List
Are Leaders
Born OR MAde?
DAvina Dalton
Kristy Constantino
Louise Dyan Maribao
Luisa Montoya
Reference List
Full transcript