Born to lead: Evidence of a biological predisposition for transformational leadership
The topic of transformational leadership in organisational settings has undergone a significant evolution in terms of both theory development and empirical investigations over the last decade and a half. Despite these advances, there are a number of aspects of transformational leadership which we know very little about. One such area is the aetiology of transformational leaders. Gray (1987) proposed that individual traits must correspond to an underlying biologically causal system. Recent data concerning the interaction of the brain and environment has suggested a relationship between stable behavioural traits and the behavioural activation and behavioural inhibition systems. As a consequence, it seems reasonable to ask whether one key aspect of transformational leadership is the presence of a heightened behavioural activation sensitivity - literally a biological predisposition. Evidence from a sample of 87 managers supports this proposition lending weight to the argument that transformational leaders have a pre-existing biological aptitude for their role within organisations. While these results are not definitive they do suggest that selection may well be more important than training when it comes to developing leaders.
Transcending Boundaries: Integrating People,processes and systems