Take Charge EGuide



The matter on leadership and genetics has been discussed and researched
on for as long as the concept of leadership was created. Research efforts
have been poured into exploring the link between the two. Are leaders born
or made? This is going to sound clich? but until now, genetics is still
considered a big factor in determining the formation of leaders. But not
everyone thinks the same way. There could be some truth to it but factors
such as experiences and social dynamics are also important in leadership.
There is no single factor that will determine the person's ability to lead.
Each factor is important up to a certain extent.

Some scientists feel strongly about genetic and biological factors and their
link with leadership. The interest in the link between genetics and
leadership are sparked by people from the same family that assume
leadership positions in society. The Kennedys and the Bush family are two
examples. More than genetics, science is also looking at biological and
physical traits that leaders possess. There are studies that show how
genetics contribute to the physiological and psychological functions of a
person. These will eventually affect the person's cognitive and behavioral
traits, which determine if the person is fit for leadership. Hormones and
chemical changes in the body affect a person's cognitive functioning, a very
important aspect of leadership.

When it comes to leadership, it's always a question about nature vs. nature.
However, both are intertwined with each other and cannot be separated.
Leadership cannot be discussed without considering both at the same time.
Case in point would be chemical and hormonal changes in the body that
will affect the disposition of the person. The disposition will affect the
attitude and behavior, which are huge factors in leadership.

An example would be a person that is suffering from a bipolar disorder.
People with bipolar disorder tend to exhibit very drastic mood swings,
easily switching from euphoria to depression. There are several causes of
bipolar disorder, including neurotransmitters that are hereditary. Their
bipolar tendencies will affect their personality, which will affect their
leadership style. This is not to say that bipolar people are not capable
leaders. In fact, the greatest leaders in the world were reportedly bipolar
(e.g. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Napoleon Bonaparte). Their
drastic mood swings, however, may have negative effects on their
leadership and establishing trust with their followers.

As said earlier, you cannot rule out the external factors (nurture) in
leadership. The Kennedys may be a family of leaders but take note that the
members are exposed to the same environment and values. They are
exposed to almost the same group of people and circumstances. Even if
genetics played a big part in their leadership streak, you cannot take away
the fact that they thrive in a common environment. They were exposed to
the same kind of experiences and brought up by the same set of people who
share the same values as well. They are also bound to develop similar
opinions on important issues and perhaps, develop the same leadership
There are certain environments that are conducive for molding leaders. The
environment plays a huge role in shaping the ideals, opinions, and values of
a person. If young children are brought up by parents that promote pro-
social behavior, the children will grow up overcoming unreasonable
aggression and form healthy relationships with their peers. Role models
account a lot for the formation of leadership traits in a person. When a
child is surrounded by people with strong leadership attributes, the child
will most likely imbibe these attributes as well. Likewise, children
surrounded with aggressive role models will most likely turn out to be
aggressive. Aggression and social skills are very important in leadership
because to be an effective leader, the individual must be adept in dealing
with people.