Developing Your Leadership DNA


Everyday, in more ways than you realize, you are a leader. You exercise influence, and leadership is in everything you do.

I'm not a scientist. Biology almost ended my college career. However, I am familiar with something called DNA, which basically is a genetic blueprint in each of us. Although I tend to say that it stands for Do Not Ask, the truth is that every cell of our body contains our DNA code. It pervades every aspect of our entire physical being.

Leadership is like DNA. It is in everything you do. The question is not if you are a leader. You are. You exercise leadership in everything you do. The only question is how you are leading.

Physical DNA is a matter of birth. Leadership DNA is a matter of choice. One comes by nature, but the other by nurture.

Shakespeare wrote, “Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them” (Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene 5). The same is true of leadership. Some people have natural leadership gifts. Yet the rest of us can develop our leadership, sometimes in response to circumstances (e.g. parenthood) that are “thrust” upon us.

Sometimes I wonder if we should just do away with the term “leader” altogether. It seems to exclude and intimidate people. Much of the time it gets equated with an organizational role, which many don’t have, instead of a life role, which everyone has.

Perhaps we should use instead “influencer” as the more accurate term. The study of leadership is the study of influence. And every person has influence. You have influence. You impact people around you. That much is certain. All that is to be determined is the nature and quality of that impact.

Everyday, in more ways than you realize, you are a leader. You exercise influence. Leadership is in everything you do. It may be positive or negative, but it is there. That’s your leadership DNA.

Written by Brett Selby

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