Can Leadership Be Learned?
More often than not, this is the first question people ask me when I tell them I have a degree in leadership. It feels like a test, but it's too complex a question to sum up in a few words.
It is my opinion that leadership can be learned, but primarily through self-introspection and a choice to develop oneself. Books and articles can only help so much with this sort of learning. So I don't think leadership can be taught, but it can be learned. The learning can be inspired by other people, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership development. The making of a leader is an individual, internal process.
Almost everybody can remember a time when they behaved as a leader. It doesn't need to be a flashy role with a title. It can be as picking up a piece of trash on a walk. People are always watching and we there is a chance every day to lead by example.
Often, an event or cause will propel a person into a role of leader. Sometimes people intuitively have the adaptability to lead, but just as often, people will feel overwhelmed by their new role.
Leadership development programs offered in most workplaces are curriculum based - focusing on the latest academic and case studies. But the qualities of a leader are a bit too subtle to be absorbed enough to put into action by reading anything.
There is inner work that must be done. Leaders throughout history are intuitive, they have a emotional intelligence, and can hold space for the various opinions around them, choose the best course of action and rally everybody to move forward together.
So if you're reading this with an interest in becoming a better leader, get right with yourself first.