Does Leadership Training Produce leaders?
Great leadership is one of the keys to long-term organisational success, and yet with all the leadership training available, it always seems to be in short supply.
Most people can describe what leadership is, and have had experience of good and poor leaders. However, why do so many people, knowing what good leadership is, fail to demonstrate it themselves?
A starting point is to look at the learning environment where leaders are usually developed.
There is an imbalance in leadership training because there is not enough emphasis on the skills central to good leadership, of inspiring others with beliefs, vision, values and attitude; and too much emphasis on the importance of systems, planning, measurement, budgets, controls and procedures - in short, on management! Great leaders inspire people, motivate them, keep them in touch with the bigger vision - they lead them
A key leadership skill is the application of 'emotional intelligence' - the ability to know when people are truly inspired, or just paying lip service. As a leader you need emotional intelligence to manage your own and others' emotions, and you need skills appropriate to this task. Trying to do it by analysis and logic is ineffective
Leadership skills like vision, inspiration and emotional intelligence can be trained on training courses - but it takes a different kind of course. In most leadership training programmes you will see models of leadership discussed, followed by practical exercises that analyse logically what went right and wrong in a 'leadership game'. It's all familiar and fun, but what's being taught are the elements that underpin leadership, not the essence of leadership
How Can You Learn Great Leadership?
You need to be coached in leadership skills, over time, in real situations - ones that matter to you and where there is a chance of meaningful success or failure - by coaches who themselves demonstrate the skills.
A life skill like leadership can't be learned by numbers; you can't read a book about it, learn a model or play a game that simulates a real life situation, and say you know anything about leadership.
The greater the 'distance' your learning experience is from your real world experience, the less likely it is that the learning will be transferred to your everyday performance. You didn't learn to drive by sitting in a classroom.
So you can only effectively demonstrate the skills of leadership when the situation calling for them is real. Get a coach who has the experience to produce leadership competence, and put yourself in a programme where you are guided through real-time experience to learn leadership skills over time. Only this kind of approach will finally get you to the point where your leadership competence is as natural and instinctive as your driving ability!