No matter what leadership theory you believe in, beyond certain skills required in figuring out a vision (technical business skills), leadership comes down to all sorts of qualities that impact on how you:
If you believe in Trait Theory, these will all come naturally. If you believe leadership as a behaviour, things get a little more complex because behaviours are very hard to learn and impossible to learn using the typical classroom model.
I’ve tended to believe that leadership is not a trait but a learned set of behaviours. I’ve been trying to figure out how to train people effectively to adopt new behaviours. To do this, I’ve been developing digital media tools to reinforce training through repetition. I also added testing to the mix to ensure that people had to learn.
In working with clients though, I have gotten the feeling lately that something is still missing. Let’s look at soccer for example. You can’t learn to play soccer in a classroom. Like a behaviour, learning to play soccer requires a coach and lots of practice.
But what it also requires is that you play a game and even more, during that game, you must be assigned a position, know your responsibilities in that position and have a chance to kick the ball. If you don’t kick the ball very often, you won’t get much better.
I think that’s the problem with leadership and its teaching. We don’t give leaders enough chance to kick the ball. We don’t give leaders the process in which they can improve and perfect their leadership skills. We don’t give them a process to be leaders.
Maybe this is my new thing, leadership as a process that can support all of the different styles that are out there in the world of leadership theory.