Brain-writing on Leadership LO6560

William J. Hobler, Jr. (
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 05:17:24 -0400

Replying to LO6524 --

Rose Wentz wrote
>I want to know how does one help to create leaders in an organization. ...
> I believe people can be taught skills that will support the
>development of these traits.

Concur in spades! Leadership is not written in your genes. It certainly
is fostered by your early experiences at home. Parents expect their
children to be leaders or followers. Yes, it is sad that some parents
lower their children's self expectations.

But there are organizations that have time and again taken the best and
worst prepared young men and women and brought out the leadership that
lurked under the surface. Truly prominent examples are our military boot
camps and our service academies.

What do they teach? First a respect for self. Even if it is a
determination that that @%$#&%%*! drill instructor won't get to me ever
again! The attitude is that 'I can do it.' This is independence, a
confidence in their own capabilities.

The second subject is a knowledge of the interdependence of the group. The
team is dependent on the capabilities of each person for success. We
compete by cooperation with each other. This lesson encompasses a whole
collection of others. Each member of the team deserves respect, the
competition deserves respect, any member of the team may take the lead as
circumstances require, you are responsible for knowing your roles and
responsibilities -- and doing them.

Making it concrete and practical? First, from day one expect your people
to take the lead. Job interviews should have a leadership facet. What
teams have you lead? What do you think are your capabilities as a leader?

As soon as possible place the newly hired people in leadership positions
and coach them to success. Watching a young wo(man) bring in a successful
project and get credit for it is a rush of the first order.

And, of course you can either develop or contract for leadership training.
If you get the impression that developing or contracting for leadership
training is of lower priority, in my mind, you are right.

That is not to say that such training is not effective. It is to say that
to train as described above (learning by doing) is much more effective. It
is also much harder to get done because of the implied risk of putting a
relatively unknown person in a leadership position. You must have
confidence in your own leadership and coaching ability. Confidence that
you can coach the person to success.

I do recommend that you research the military's methods of developing
leaders. They do have some excellent classroom training, as well as the
learn by doing methods. My caution is that you consider the classroom
work in context of the whole atmosphere that encourages leadership.

Just The job is not done until we are humbled
Bill by what we accomplished together.


"William J. Hobler, Jr." <>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>