Destined to lead the world? On Great Leaders, Fashionable Nonsense, and The Origins and Possible Future of Leadership
Roland S Persson Opens in new window., "Destined to lead the world? On Great Leaders, Fashionable Nonsense, and The Origins and Possible Future of Leadership":
Is the possession of formidable abilities, skills, a creative flair, and considerable intellectual prowess, a path to successful leadership? The brief answer is no. While leadership is a human universal, few theories and management procedures include a biological and genetic foundation for explaining and facilitating leadership behavior and practice. Gifted individuals, irrespective of how ethical, intelligent, and wise, are highly unlikely to reach the pinnacles of power and influence. They are too different in comparison to most others. Should they manage to move upwards in the social hierarchy despite of this, they arrive at the top as changed individuals. By force of evolution, social status as well as degree of power and influence, change the behavior of an individual physiologically affecting both perception and personal characteristics prompting a leader to become less ethical and more coercive as well as manipulative. This chapter focuses on the evolutionary origins of leadership and discusses the obstacles to operationalize transformational leadership in large groups and populations. While a consistent ethical and compassionate leadership is largely a futile endeavor on a large scale, it is feasible on a much smaller scale with a group of fewer than about 250 individuals. Glamour, fame, and worldwide recognition, as attributes of an ethical and wise Great Leader to nations, large organizations, or multinational businesses, contrary to the hopes and wishes of many, are not available for our best and brightest—and never will be, unless Homo Sapiens is somehow reprogrammed by evolution. The possible implications of this for gifted leadership training is discussed.