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The cash-cow called skills- training

Why training programs fail to produce leaders
One of the worst leaders in my experience was easily the smartest retail expert I have ever met. He was also a brilliant analyst, organiser, and administrator, with all the management skills one could hope to assemble in a single human being.
 

Even his people skills were of the highest order, and anyone meeting him socially or professionally for the first time would have regarded him as articulate, attentive, charming, and gifted with an infectious sense of humour.

Unfortunately, he was also self-centred, cynical, cruel, manipulative, and deceitful, and the workplace he ruled over was characterised by fear, hopelessness, and a dispirited lack of initiative. The reality is that the man was not a leader, but a misleader.

He didn’t have followers; he had functionaries who did what he wanted because he intimidated, coerced or cajoled them. They were no more than means to his selfish ends – in other words, he had no respect for them as human beings.

 

Character is learned in loving families and caring communities, where the virtues are encouraged and expected in the workplace and everywhere else.

His skills were irrelevant, being used, misused, or abused according to his own whim. The damage he did in the lives of his employees was unconscionable.

Skills on their own are inadequate

I have seen so many instances of this in corporate life that the conviction grows stronger with every day that, while leadership training is a very lucrative business, it is manifestly inadequate to produce leaders.

The truth is that there must inevitably come a time when the honest trainer must admit to the trainee: “There are no more skills we can teach you – now you have to rely on your character and intellect.”

And there’s the rub – there are no easy, quick-fix, skills-training programs that can transform character and intellect overnight. And character and intellect are the essential factors in leadership. Let’s take one at a time to understand them better.

 

 

The quest for character

It is an interesting comment on modern society that when emotional intelligence became a management fad back in the 1990s, its proponents were all obliged to acknowledge the parallels between their findings and the long-held principles of ancient wisdom.

An excellent article on corporate codes of conduct in the Harvard Business Review a few years ago underlined this reality. The researchers noted that the eight basic principles they distilled from the internationally diverse codes of conduct all echoed guidelines familiar throughout history.

Predictably, modern research concurs with ancient philosophy that integrity, the sign of good character, is built on the virtues of judgment, courage, self-control, fairness, aspiration, confidence, and respect. None of those can be developed by skills-training.

Character is learned in loving families and caring communities, where the virtues are encouraged and expected in the workplace and everywhere else.

The restless intellect

Intellect is more than animal intelligence. It is the creative spark in the human mind responsible for the astonishing diversity of human culture. All human beings are creative – we are all able to understand potential and conceive possibilities. In other words, we have vision, the ability to project into the future.

Frustrated intellect often seeks release in anti-social behaviour, a lesson society seems to have forgotten.

Leaders emerge through education

Character and intellect make civilised society and all its benefits possible, and are the human attributes that confirm that leaders are made not born. They can only be developed by self-driven ongoing education, of which skills-training is but a tiny part.

Until we admit the limitations of skills-training and encourage people to take charge of their own education, the deluge of misleadership will prevail.
 

 

Leaders make work work like it
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A couple of years ago, one of the best-selling books in France was a humorous take on working life called Bonjour Paresse (Hello Laziness)... more

 

The cash-cow called skills-
training

Why training programs fail to produce leaders

One of the worst leaders in my experience was easily the smartest retail expert I have ever met. He was also a brilliant analyst, organiser, and administrator, with all the management skills one could hope to assemble in a single human being...more


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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