Is Leadership A Skill?
Yes. Leadership is a Skilled That Can be Learned.
LEADERSHIP IS A SKILL
No one is born with the ability to play a sport such as football, soccer, or basketball. Playing a sport requires skills that must be learned and enhanced through training. Likewise, no one can pick up a musical instrument such as the guitar, or sit down at a piano, and play those instruments well without years of training and preparation.
Some people are born with physical attributes that might give them an advantage in a particular sport—such as size, strength, or speed. Others have innate mental and physical qualities that facilitate an aptitude for a particular musical instrument. Nonetheless, playing a sport or a musical instrument is a skill. These skills must be taught, learned, and developed over time through training, practice, and repetition.
Leadership Must be Taught
No one is born with great leadership ability. Leadership is a skill that must be taught, learned, and developed over time through training, practice, and repetition. Some people are born with attributes that enable them to develop faster and outperform others as they develop their leadership skills. But without learning the skills required to lead, such people will not ultimately succeed. The pathway to becoming a good leader lies in learning and developing leadership skills through training, education, and continuous, dedicated effort.
It’s Not an Inoculation
You can’t complete a single workout at the gym and expect to be in the best shape of your life. You can’t attend a weekend seminar or read a book about health and nutrition, and automatically perform at the highest levels of strength and cardiovascular endurance. To develop your physical athletic abilities to their peak requires a disciplined training schedule—multiple times a week, for weeks, months, and years.
The same goes for developing your leadership skills. You can’t read a book, sit through a keynote speech, seminar or workshop, or take a single online course and expect to be at peak leadership performance. Like physical training, leadership is something you must work to develop continuously, multiple times a week, for months and years on end. There is always something new to learn, some area in which to improve, some new leadership challenge to be faced.
Leadership Development Requires a Disciplined Training Continuum
Leadership is not just something some people are born with. It is also not something you can only stumble upon through experience. When you recognize that leadership is a skill, you can then put together a disciplined plan to routinely train and educate yourself with frequency and focus on your continuous leadership development. Then, you can prioritize the effort to develop the leadership skills of the people on your team to ensure they are constantly learning, growing, and improving to become more effective leaders. That disciplined effort over time is the pathway to freedom, enabling you and your entire organization to solve problems through leadership and achieve victory.
“I’m really good at the technical stuff,” said the leader. “But I find leading other people to be really hard. It just isn’t my thing.”
“Leading people is the most challenging of human endeavors,” I said. “But the good news is, it isn’t something that any of us are born with. Leadership is a skill that must be learned.”
“Do you think leadership is actually something that can be taught?” asked the leader, doubtfully.
“It absolutely can be taught,” I said. “When I ran leadership training for all the officers graduating from our basic SEAL training pipeline, I would see many of them that initially struggled. Some of them were total introverts and were super nervous to brief in front of a group. Some were easily overwhelmed under pressure and couldn’t detach and make decisions. Some were too aggressive in their decision-making without properly considering ways to mitigate risk. They had to be taught how to lead. With training, they grew to become good leaders.”
“Interesting,” the leader responded. “Were there any leaders you encountered who couldn’t be taught?”
“Yes,” I replied. “But the only leaders that couldn’t be taught were the ones who weren’t humble enough to realize they needed to improve. If they couldn’t check their ego, they wouldn’t listen to any guidance or constructive feedback, and they would never improve. Even some of the young officers that initially struggled, as long as they were willing to listen, learn, and apply the leadership skills they were taught, showed marked improvement through the course, and most went on to have successful careers.”
This week, focus on how well you are prioritizing leadership training for you and your team. Examine how often you are making time for continuous leadership growth and development. How much time are you prioritizing in your schedule to develop the leadership skills of the people on your team to ensure they are constantly learning, growing, and improving their skills to become more effective leaders? That disciplined effort over time is the pathway to freedom, enabling you and your entire organization to develop the leadership skills that are the critical factor in whether a team succeeds or fails.