As you grow in your career, you would have worked for many different types of leaders. From these experiences, you would have formed your own beliefs about leadership.

Unless you take the time to reflect on what leadership really is, your beliefs can impede your own leadership growth and affect your career advancement.

The leadership genes of a person typically evolve as the market dynamics change.

After assessing and certifying hundreds of leaders across Asia for multinational companies and large local corporations, we believe that there are some leadership genes that are encoded in their corporate DNA.

There are also what we call bad genes, often shaped by erroneous and conflicting beliefs about relationships, authority, dominance, power, decision-making and winning.

Without proper guidance, these beliefs may degrade the leadership genes of healthy executives, leading to poor performance and the downfall of their department or even the company.

So the first step to release the full potential of your leadership DNA is to abandon your old, limiting beliefs. It is akin to committing yourself to a new exercise regime to improve your overall health. So how do you get started?

Shaping future leaders

From speaking, developing, recruiting and assessing strong as well as average leaders, we have identified the following genes that make up their DNA. We have code-named these genes by the acronym “SPOTS”:

* S-gene: This is about being self-competent. Strong leaders are acutely aware of their own leadership styles, the way they communicate and how to blend their styles to maximise the connection with the other party.

They also know how to adapt to the external environment and use their strengths to maximise their results on the job. Finally, they know their stress points and how to manage them to achieve maximum productivity.

* P-gene: This gene requires the leader to be a proficient executor. He has to meet the needs of the company in the short term by making things happen. He oversees change and has the ability to turn aspirations into actions. The P-gene encompasses decision protocols, accountability and technical proficiency.

* O-gene: This gene gives the leader the ability to be an overall team player. He has the ability to effectively communicate with his staff members, engaging them and aligning their career goals to the company objectives. The O-gene strengthens a leader’s competencies and enables him to create a fun and positive working environment.

* T-gene: This is the talent developer gene and enables leaders to think long-term. Future leaders act, think and speak about how to build the next generation of leaders. They insist on regular talent reports that will enable them to map the entire workforce.

They know the importance of creating a strong company brand to attract the best as well as developing a regular source of talent supply internally. They encourage strong network building and are constantly asking referrals for good talents to join their organisation.

* S(2)-gene: The second S-gene enables leaders to shape the future. The leader knows about analysing markets and turning a competitor’s weakness into an advantage for his organisation. He draws upon his strengths as a leader and the talent of his engaged workforce to drive the long-term viability of the business.

The “SPOTS” DNA theory of future leaders is based on the belief that our genes are encoded for leadership. It is also about understanding the future needs of organisations as they engage in more hostile and competitive environments.

By engaging and communicating effectively with others, we are advancing ourselves, our teams and our organisations. Use these five leadership genes as the blueprint to express your leadership DNA.