Cutting-Edge Leadership

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Born Leaders and Followers? Horoscope Nonsense!

Does your astrological sign determine if you are a leader? Of course not!

This morning I came across this article from an astrologer who suggests that certain astrological signs are associated with being a leader, and other signs mean that you are a follower. As a leadership scholar, I have three problems with this:

First, there is scientific evidence, from studies of identical and fraternal twins, that has determined that leadership is more “made” (a product of development of skills, competencies and experiences), than it is “born” (temperament, personality, etc.). You can read more about this research here.

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Second, if birth is destiny, then why work to develop your leadership potential? The qualities that we admire in the best leaders are the same qualities we admire in anyone – honesty, trustworthiness, competence, achievement, and good at communicating and maintaining relationships. This would also mean that all of the money spent on leader development is a waste. If astrology is true, we should just select leaders based on birthdates.

Third, the leader-follower dichotomy in this astrology article perpetuates the leader-centric myth that leaders are the cause of outcomes, and followers are the obedient, unquestioning “tools” by which goals are achieved. This is simply not the case. Leadership is something that leaders and followers create together. Leadership in today’s world is a shared endeavor between leaders and followers. Furthermore, blind following is dangerous. Followers have an obligation to question their leaders when wrong decisions are made, or if the group is going down the wrong path.

Astrology may be fun and entertaining, but when it flies in the face of scientific evidence (and deals with leaders and followers), I needed to set the record straight.

 

Follow me on twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/ronriggio

 

Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.

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