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Pushing Boundaries May Be Leadership Training

Pushing Boundaries May Be Leadership Training Perhaps some parents can relax a little as a new study finds that children who push the rules are more likely to assume leadership roles as adults.

However, a consistent and firm parenting style is important to allow some wiggle room, but not too much.

Researchers used data from a long-term Minnesota study of twins. They found that children raised with an “authoritative” parenting style – where parents set clear limits and expectations while also being supportive of their children – assumed more leadership roles at work and in their communities later in life.

While these children were also less likely to engage in serious rule-breaking, children who did engage in serious rule-breaking were less likely to assume leadership roles.

Good parenting may better prepare children for future leadership roles if the children happen to challenge the boundaries set out by their parents. This gives the children an opportunity to learn why the rules are in place and then learn from their parents how to achieve their goals without breaking the rules.

“Some of these early examples of rule-breaking behavior, more the modest type, don’t necessarily produce negative outcomes later in life – that was fairly intriguing,” says Maria Rotundo, a professor at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. “It doesn’t mean all children of authoritative parents are going to become leaders, but they are more likely to.”

The study adds more weight to the idea that leaders are raised more than they are born. Behavioral genetics has shown that innate factors account for only 30 percent of who will end up in leadership positions and people’s leadership styles.

Source: University of Toronto

Pushing Boundaries May Be Leadership Training

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Pushing Boundaries May Be Leadership Training. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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