Monday, December 19, 2011

You Gotta Believe - Leaders are Made vs. Born

Each Sunday, the Boston Globe's Uncommon Knowledge section features interesting research findings from the social sciences.  Yesterday, the newspaper described a study by Crystal L. Hoyt, Jeni L. Burnette and Audrey N. Innella.  The researchers examined the impact of individual beliefs regarding leadership on actual behavior.  They compared people who tend to believe leaders are "born" with those who tend to believe leaders are "made."   The scholars conducted two studies.  In the first study, they primed individuals to think about a leadership role model.  Then, they found that the people who believed that leaders are made tended to show more confidence and less anxiety as they performed a leadership task (delivering a speech).  In the second study, they asked some individuals to read an article arguing that leaders are made.  They found that those who read the article tended to show more confidence, exhibit less anxiety, and perform better in the delivery of a speech (as measured by independent judges). 

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