For the past 30 years, maybe longer, many organizations have touted leadership courses, seminars and training. If you are a motivational speaker, most of the speaking gigs available, for high school and college students, or corporations, are related to leadership. Yet, look around. Do we have lots of better leaders in government or business to show for it? I think not. Makes you question just what they are preaching in these courses, and whether leadership can be taught at all.
I think not. Rather, I think that leadership is an innate personal quality. You either have it or you don’t. Sure, you can learn how to be more efficient, a better speaker, a better manager, be more organized or goal-oriented. But is that really leadership, or just management skills?
Look at some of the best leaders in history: JFK, Winston Churchill, Ghandi, Ronald Reagen, Patton, Truman, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, FDR, Steve Jobs, Edison, Tesla, Vince Lombardi, Martin Luther King, Teddy Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie. These were leaders. I challenge you to prove to me that any one of these people EVER took a leadership course or seminar. As far as I can see, most of the strong leaders of the past 70 years came from the military.
Leaders inspire others to action and to superior results by being role models. They are innovative, fearless, decisive, have clear vision and high integrity. They seek the advice of others but when it’s time to act they rely on their gut and past experience. Can this really be taught in a course?
I rest my case.
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