Is Leadership a Genetic or Learned Behavior?

Is Leadership a Genetic and Learned Behavior

The question of whether we are born with leadership skills or learned them has always troubled me. When I was nine years old, I remember taking the hands of younger 4-H members and teaching them the sewing skills I learned the year before. My father told me I was bossy. I thought I just cared about people, but as I matured, I found myself increasingly in leadership roles. Was genetic make-up to blame? Perhaps it was simply the fact that I was the youngest of five children and had to fight my way to the top.

Who are the relevant teachers in our lives that teach us leadership abilities? Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and school teachers help us understand society rules, ethical behaviors. They drive us to learn and speak-up for ourselves. Most leaders have a role model in their life who believes in us no matter what we do. At some point, if we turned out to be a leader, we committed to constructive behavior. We developed ethical values and beliefs that help us think as a leader would and behave as a leader would behave. We are aware of these thoughts and feelings, and we make a conscious decision on how to address situations that require our leadership commitment.

Successful leaders are often successful because they choose to believe they will succeed. They have a positive self-image, which manifests itself into self-confidence and is contagious to those around them. They courageously apply their abilities and strengths, and others see them as winners in the game of life. However, they can sometimes reflect arrogance and overate their performance as compared to their peers. They also have difficulty accepting feedback from their peers and supervisors because the opinions expressed are inconsistent with their image of success.

Successful people walk the talk and consistently reflect the behaviors they preach. They are self-determined and possess a sense of ownership and personal commitment to the projects or activities they accept. They require consistency that unfortunately leads them to resist change. They feel like the real “me” cannot make these changes to the business. They hold that feeling to themselves and move forward as a leader would by supporting the company plan. Successful people. Communicate success to their co-workers. They are persistent in the face of adversity and have a high internal focus of control. They often have a hard time letting go of failures and easily over-commit their time. They like to win!

Can anyone be a winner, or do they have to possess the genetic make-up to be one?. Leaders can be developed through exceptional role models, self-confidence, and a positive coaching environment. However, being an excellent leader takes courage, humility, and discipline. If you believe you can be a better leader, contact me at mary@goldenprofessionalcoaching.com to discuss a coaching engagement.

Author: MKUNISKI@ME.COM

Mary Kuniski is a catalyst for business and individual change. Throughout her career, she has consistently led corporate businesses into the future, often achieving process improvement and change that others could not. Mary’s enthusiastic attitude and tenacious ability to keep moving forward is why she identifies with this quote from Dale Carnegie: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” Passionate about problem resolution and committed to coaching and leading others, Mary is driven to ensure that everything she does provides lasting value. At a young age, her leadership and public speaking skills were recognized and nurtured through her ten-year participation in 4-H. She has also fostered change for businesses such as Parkinson Voice Project, where she directed the implementation of their website and online learning management system, and Overhead Door Corporation, where she created and launched a successful core data process improvement strategy. During her tenure with The Michaels Companies, Mary held five Director positions and three Vice President roles, and pioneered the company’s expansion into Quebec. Her efforts to lead the transformation of over 40,000 craft items to three languages resulted in Michaels becoming the first international retailer to acquire language certification from Quebec on the initial attempt. This meant Michaels successfully adherred to strict French-language laws. Mary has over 20 years in executive leadership in the retail industry and for 10 years led supply chain shipment improvement and savings and reduction efforts at Michaels. Mary is a Dale Carnegie graduate, certified trainer, and consultant for Dale Carnegie DFW's Executive Leadership training. She holds an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix and a degree in Human Development, Clothing Studies from Pennsylvania State University.

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