Teaching Leadership

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While many people believe that leadership cannot be taught, people can learn the skills of leadership, which include motivation, balancing head and heart, and understanding the needs of others. Help others to want to learn about leadership with tips from a business management consultant in this free video on leadership.

Part of the Video Series: Leadership Skills
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Video Transcript

I'm going to spend a few minutes talking about teaching leadership. I'm going to start in the disappointing mode by saying that leadership can't be taught but it may be learned and the trick move, therefore, to teaching leadership is getting people to want to learn. There have been a number of viewpoints of what leadership is which relate to whether you can teach it or not and I would like to give you a quick history lesson on them for over the last 100 years or so. At the beginning of the 20th Century there was a so called trait theory of leadership. This moralist said that you could be a leader if you had the right genetic material not a lot of use there to be a teacher much better to be a biologist. That was quickly eliminated as a valid theory of leadership and we moved on to the idea of style theories in other words all we had to do was copy or adopt their particular style of leadership and one might be successful. Again this has been largely put down over the years due to the fact that some people can't fake styles. Towards the middle of the 20th Century the so called contingency theory of leadership came up whereby people said well you can vary your style within a given range and some days you can be very dictatorial and other days you can be very consultative and you simply needed to know a range of styles and be able to decide whether you were able to give those performances when required. That maintained its popularity but in recent times the real ones that come up that probably relates to teaching leadership is about authenticity of learning to be yourself. That sounds crazy really because we are all ourselves most of the day but we do have to perform certain roles where we are called to be more authentic than others to actually say what we mean and mean what we say. So if leadership can't be taught there are indeed some skills of leadership that you can learn and if you practice and practice those skills indeed providing you have got some basic starting material to go with you will actually become a better leader. What are those skills? Well they are things like studying what works in terms of motiving yourself and others and applying that learning to yourself and others so learning how to be more motivational that doesn't have to be out in your face it can be a more subtle approaching depending whether you are an introvert or an extrovert but learning about that is important. Learning about making decisions, balancing head and heart you could learn that sort of skill quite well and finally learning how to actually understand other peoples' needs, what turns them on, what switches them on, what they're thinking and you can learn certain disciplines of psychology to help you learn how other people feel about what you are doing with them. So whilst leadership can't be taught, if you agree it can be learned I think you'll agree there is much that can be learned.

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