Teaching Leadership LO6782

William J. Hobler, Jr. (bhobler@cpcug.org)
Thu, 18 Apr 1996 18:08:40 -0400

Replying to LO6737 --

Fred Nichols wrote

>Teaching leadership has always seemed to me to be not just a futile but
>also a misdirected exercise.

>I ... believe leadership can be learned. But I do not believe leadership
>can be taught.
>The reason, or so I think, is that leaders do not set out to lead; they
>set out to do something else instead, and only afterward do we say that
>they led.
....Big Snip here.........
> Why? Because "the fire in the
>belly" that drives all "monomaniacs with missions" would be missing. That
>spark comes from the heart or the gut, not the head.
>Said a little differently, leadership begins with caring, and that can't
>be taught.

If this position hold true then we are in a lot of trouble. People are
being placed in positions requiring that they lead, and most businesses
and governments have not prepared them for the role of leader.

Perhaps we have different levels of leaders. there are those with fire in
their bellies. These are the leaders we hear about on CNN. But I know of
many leaders that inspire day-to-day work. They are not even mentioned in
the company newsletter (well maybe some are). These 'little people' (for
me a term of great respect) have learned to care, they have learned the
joy of achieving a goal, more joy in seeing the people they lead achieve a

I have an assumption about people, I assume that they care. I think that
they care about being successful and they care about other people. The
missing elements in most people placed in leadership roles seem to be in
sensitivity to the effect of their actions on the people they are to lead.
The extension to this sensitivity is to the changes they must make in
their own behavior to reduce the adverse results of their actions. My
communication style is straight forward (blunt), spare (terse) and active
(declaritive). If I have not been with a group long enough for us to know
each other I must be very aware of my behavior because I turn people off
quickly. This is a learned behavior.

I think leadership can be taught, a good place to start is with self
mastery and mental models. After that I think that experiential work in
leadership exercises that are critiqued by peers and experts in leadership
are successful. Finally, I think that people can be coached or mentored to
develop their own leadership capabilities. (Ginger are you there?)

bhobler@cpcug.org Bill


"William J. Hobler, Jr." <bhobler@cpcug.org>

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