Can real leadership be taught? (Yes.)

By William Seidman In our more than 15 years of developing leadership, cultural change and performance improvement programs for major corporations, one of the frequently encountered problems is an over-adherence to theoretical models of leadership that are irrelevant to the conditions real leaders face. Telling a potential leader to create yet another mission statement or to “empower your people,” or to “make decisions that are good for everyone,” as occurs in most leadership development programs, is usually worthless. How can it be possible to make decisions that are good for everyone? IS there such a position? Yes. The key is how you go about it. We start by learning what the “positive deviant” leaders do. In three days’ time we gather their wisdom about leading in the real world. We develop a systematic learning program based on the newest neuroscience that gives people frequent, small applied opportunities to practice the complex skills required to be successful. For example, in order to develop a more global perspective, people are given an assignment to interview key influencers from other business units about their values and issues and report back to a “learning cohort” also from other business units. This, and similar learning exercises, is a simple, fast but thorough way to educate people to actually lead. And it works.]]>

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