Thursday, November 15, 2012

Learning about Leadership Learning PT1

This week I attended two ASTD Chapter meetings both on the subject of Leadership.

On Tuesday I was out at Mt. Diablo chapter meeting where a panel asked and answered a series of Questions

  • What are the qualities of good leaders?
  • Can they be trained and replicated, or not?
  • Is Leadership Genetic and can it be cloned?

My raw Tweeted thoughts alongside those of fellow attendee Paul Signorelli can be found here.

To me the most interesting question that came out of the discussion was whether Leadership, and great Leadership even more so, can be taught?

Rebecca Morgan was invited to be a part of the panel specifically because she has doubts in that area. She has looked for studies that prove that Taught Leadership has made a difference and can't find any. One of the other Panelists, Kevin Martin, made a clear distinction between Leadership and Management.Managers organize and Leaders inspire. He also was convinced that many of the skills that a Leader needs are the Emotional Intelligence competencies. And he is pretty certain that those skills can be developed in almost anyone. Marci Meaux, the third panelist, raised Vision as one of the key factors of successful leadership. She said that a Leader needs to be able to set a vision that people can see themselves in.

There was a lot of discussion that was highly thought provoking. My take away from the session was that even though it may be true to say that Leadership cannot be taught, it can certainly be learned. It's important to remember that we are not just trainers. We are, or should be, in the field of Workplace Learning and Performance. Performance is the key and training is not always the answer. I call myself a Learning & Development Professional. I am part of the ASTD which I might need to remind folks is the American Society for Training and Development. The Development part of both of those tends to take a back seat behind the Learning or the Training side. But I can't loose sight that developing people is my goal.

I can certainly help people to develop the skills that can make them better leaders. I can help them learn processes to follow to reflect on their own actions and how those impacted the people they lead.  I can't train them to be better leaders but, as a Learning Pro, I can help them learn how to lead better.

I left the meeting with a number of thoughts in my head about Leadership and how Learning Professionals can help Leaders at all levels develop into better people, and better Leaders.

Happy Learning

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