You read about a program on team building, another on communication skills, one on emotional intelligence, and many others like high performance teams, innovation, values based leadership etc. There are as many programs as there are leadership learning areas. What do you do? If you are a conscientious CEO or a HR head, you send your people to various programs one by one. You commit a certain ‘training’ hours and a budget and sit back. You hope that your people get better in leading.
What do you find? Your people go away to get such training doses. They come back and start where they had left and get on with their work in the same old way. Add to this, the continuous steam of articles and lectures that come there way. Those who read a lot know a lot. Some don’t read, thinking ‘Oh!this is one more’. But knowing is not same as using. Not knowing is also not same using. Mostly, knowing means knowing some jargon.
If you pause to think a bit about what is leadership and how it gets developed,
you will realize that it must involve practice of thinking like a leader, the practice must take place in real work situations, and it must integrate all aspects leadership while thinking about one’s work.
It has to be learned through practice, reflection and improvisation. It must be take place for the learner as a whole person. Training in bits and pieces will not work, they never worked.
The learning and thinking done by an individual must be captured for reflection and improvisation. The learning must also involve converting thoughts into specific actions. If support is available to the learner through mentoring and coaching it is even better. Learning leadership must be all this.