I may be confusing myself again but some work I’ve been doing with a client along with the research I’m doing is leading me to question the nature of leadership. Essentially I’m asking the question I’ve asked before, what is leadership?
There appear to be three central views of leadership:
- As a trait or personality characteristic.
- As a set of behaviours or skills.
- Or finally as a process.
It is the last of these that I haven’t considered before. If you consider leadership as a set of traits then it would be very difficult to train leaders. If you consider it as a set of behaviours then leadership training is difficult and time consuming yet not impossible.
If you consider leadership to be a process then it should be relatively easy to train someone to be a better leader. Interestingly enough, this may be what I’m seeing through research.
I suppose the best situation would be to have a leader with the right traits and behaviours working within a process that supports effective leadership.
I think you suppose correctly Charles – all three need to be present and in alignment…in my view, there are just some personality elements of leadership that cannot be trained. You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. That said, there are instances where a crisis has awakened the untapped leadership ability within a person who decided to (or had to) “step up”….not sure it happens often…
Yes I think the one thing that you cannot train people to do is care for other people. Either you care or you don’t. After that, it’s probably all trainable.