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Effective Leadership By Mick Ukleja

Not All Training Opportunities Are Created Equal (Is This Leadership Program Worth My Time And Money?)Mick Ukleja

February 12th, 2013 - According to current research, about 30 percent of a person’s leadership ability is genetic, and the rest is learned – but not necessarily in school. Stem cells are waiting to be developed. Much of that which is learned comes through life experiences. The contributions of life cannot be overlooked. Challenges, hardships, work experiences, education, colleagues, direct and indirect role models and personal outlook contribute to our ability to lead.

Learning through doing is one of the greatest ways to lead. So how do you take charge of your own leadership development?

One way is through training programs. Leadership training is a two-way street. On the one hand there are those who design the training program. But it doesn’t end there. On the other hand is the person taking the training. A training program can have great structure and intensity. Yet if the one taking the training is not highly motivated, then there is a breakdown in the process. A lot of men and women choose not to lead when given the opportunity. They can learn in the training program, but in real time the price is too great, the timing is not right and the rewards are too small. It’s a personal choice to settle for something else.

The training must go beyond teaching certain elements of leadership. It must be designed to:
A. Develop certain teachable skills;
B. Broaden the conceptual skills of the leader;
C. Explore the individual’s personal needs, interests and point of view; and
D. Help the leader move beyond individual blocks, both personal and interpersonal.

In other words it should include things like . . .
1. Leadership skills
2. Conceptual thinking
3. Personal growth experiences
4. Feedback.

No one training program will typically give you all four of these. In fact, many companies usually emphasize just one of these elements.

Often one is central while the other aspects are included.

Hopefully this will help you evaluate the program you are considering. You will want the greatest ROI for your money. All four are essential.

I’ve listed some good resources for further guidance. Note: paste these titles into a Google search bar to be directed to the relevant article or book.
Learning to Lead: The Art of Transforming Managers into Leaders from the Jossey-Bass Business and Management Series
Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick M. Lencioni
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

(Mick Ukleja is a consultant, author, coach, keynote speaker and president of LeadershipTraq, a leadership consulting firm. His clients have included Fortune 500 corporations and non-profit organizations. Check his weekly blog at www.leadershiptraq.com.)