Great leaders are made not born
 Source : IANS  Date : 07-Oct-2014

New York, Oct 7: Genes have a little role to play in making future leaders and leadership development follows a specific progression via life experiences, says an interesting study.

To prove their point, professors Kari Keating, David Rosch and Lisa Burgoon from University of Illinois analysed a group of students.

“In only 15 weeks in our introductory class, students reported significant gains in three important components of leadership - self-efficacy, skills and motivation to lead,” said Keating.

Past research suggests that leadership is 30 percent genetic and 70 percent a result of lessons learned through life experiences.

The findings shows that science is involved in teaching leadership development.

“It is a three-legged stool: we call it being ready, willing and able. Students first become ready to learn about being a leader; then they become willing to learn the skills necessary to practice leadership; and finally they are able to lead because they have the skills and the motivation to do it,” explained Rosch.

You cannot really move on to the other legs of the stool until you have achieved a certain amount of this readiness, he noted.

So what is leadership? “Historically, leaders have been viewed as being male and power-oriented. It used to be if you were tall, articulate and well-schooled, you were a leader in other people's minds,” Burgoon pointed out.

But leadership is more than that.

“The definition we use in the course is that leadership is an individual influencing a group of people toward a common goal,” Burgoon said.

So how do you influence people?

“You can lead through your interactions, your relationships, your communication, the way you express thanks and your ethics,” he concluded.