There are plenty of theories and serious psychological books discussing what it takes to become and be a good leader. For many years, the experts are arguing and trying to find and answer to the question, whether we are born leaders, or we have to work hard to develop the qualities of a good leader. Many are convinced that becoming a leader is a hard personal work, and potential leaders develop their leaderships characteristics like personal charisma, the ability to persuade and make people accept their point of view, the ability to inspire and help people maximize their efforts in order to achieve one or another goal, the ability of influence and make people change, etc. by working a lot on their own personality. At the same time, even this kind of personal development and personal work may not be enough for becoming a good and successful leader.
Recently, the findings of an interesting study related to the issue of leadership were published, saying that leadership and possessing the qualities of a good leader are somethings which can actually be inherited. A group of researchers from various countries of the world has published the findings saying that they managed to isolate the genes responsible for good leadership skills. It is a special DNA sequence known as the genotype rs4950, and according to the report about the study which appeared earlier this year in the popular online journal Leadership Quarterly, about a quarter of people who are considered to be very effective leaders were found to have that genetic chain. According to the scientists, their experiments and long term research helped to identify very strong links between the mentioned gene and the ability of an individual to demonstrate strong leadership characteristics and skills.
During their scientific work, the experts collected and analyzed genetic samples of about 4,000 participants, men and women from the United states, who were proven to possess all qualities of a good leader. Along with the genetic samples, full information on the participants was collected including the details about their job, personal life, personal preferences, and so on. A good deal of attention was paid to personal behavior and leadership styles of every each participant. Finally, as a measure of leadership success, the scientists analyzed closely the career development and the position the participants occupied at their workplaces. Further, all the data was put together and processed.
It turned out that most of the participants possessed the genotype rs4950. Therefore, the scientists came to the conclusion that becoming a successful leader and developing effective leadership characteristics is something that depends both on genetic and environmental factors. According to the report written by Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, one of the study leaders and an Assistant Professor of Political Economy and Behavioral Science from the University College London School of Public Policy, both sets of factors are very important. “The conventional wisdom — that leadership is a skill — remains largely true, but we show it is also, in part, a genetic trait,” he said during the presentation of his group’s scientific findings.
Despite quite strong scientific evidence pointing to the fact that genetics plays a great role in the ability of a person to develop all effective qualities of a good leader, the scientist is convinced that environmental and personal factors should still be considered more important. Dr. De Neve also informed the journalists that his scientific group is already planning conducting a new study aiming to getting a clearer picture about the discovered genotype interacting with other significant factors that influence personal behavior and help in developing effective leadership characteristics. The findings of Dr. De Neve’s group have evoked a great interest and vivid discussion in scientific circles, and were reported by most of online and printed media in the beginning of 2013.