Celebrating Our Leaders and Looking at Our Own Leadership DNA

As we take the time to celebrate our leaders of the past, it is worth exploring our own leadership style and its origins.  Who we are as leaders often begins at home.  Often, our leadership style is shaped in collusion with or reaction to the way we were raised.  

When working systemically with leaders, we take the time to explore both their professional and personal lives.  There is a reason for that.  Family patterns tend to bleed into leadership styles.  For example, when you encounter a leader who habitually hires dominant gatekeepers, or executive assistants, it may be worth exploring which parent this might represent. Who is keeping them ‘safe?’ 

Leadership DNA is yet another form of a multi-generational inheritance of thoughts, feelings, and actions that we encounter in systemic work.  If dad is a commanding presence in the workplace, that can make it easier for junior to exhibit similar traits or get lost in his shadow.  We also notice that sometimes when a parent has failed, the child, now a leader, may hire a string of “parents” and keep trying to save them in the hopes that if this latest “parent” succeeds and takes their full place, the “child/leader” can finally take his or her own place.  

Take a moment to notice where you find yourself struggling or excelling as a leader?  Did someone else in your family have difficulties in a position of leadership?  Are you the first one to lead differently?  Exploring your Leadership DNA, one thought, feeling and action at a time, is a good step towards becoming a strong balanced leader.  Visionary leaders know or learn how to acknowledge ‘what is’ and then pivot to ‘what’s possible’.  One new thought, one new feeling, and one new action can create a visionary leader who is always willing to grow and invite others around them to do so too.

To find our more about Leadership DNA, including our Leadership DNA event in April, please visit our website at www.judywilkins-smith.com.


  1. What kind of leader are you and when did that begin?
  2. If you are a leader who carries everything, no one else learns.
  3. If you get too big, others get too small.
  4. The best leaders continue to learn and invite others to do so too.
  5. Visionary leaders love what they do and the people around them.