Are Top Australian Leaders Made or Born?

By February 15, 2012 Leadership No Comments

For centuries there has been debate whether it is our personalities or experiences that shape behaviour. Are we born a certain way or can we learn with hard work and effort? Does leadership training make a difference?

Can a leader who is aspiring to reach great heights succeed through effective management training or is there a time when we need to accept that we cannot change who we are, and that we just don’t have leadership greatness stamped inside?

To begin tackling this question it is important to differentiate between personality and behaviour. Who we are is a factor of our personality. What we do is a factor of our actions. This being the case, is leadership greatness about who we are or what we do?

If you think about a great leader do you think about their inner make up or do you think about what they have done in their leadership role?

If it is the latter then the case for any management training or executive training program may hold water. If the leadership training is about focusing on those behaviours that make leaders successful, and using the actions of great leaders as the benchmark of aspiration, then surely the investment is worthwhile. If however the leadership coaching is more about trying to emulate the way other leaders lead, or trying to become like a particular leader in personality, the investment is questionable.

Executive training is about developing constructive leadership behaviours and minimising counter productive and defensive behavioural styles. What is interesting is the fact that many great leaders share similar behaviours. When these can be identified as preferred styles in any leadership training or management training program then one need not recreate the wheel but rather mirror the one that is most outstanding.

The success factor in leadership training is the degree to which these behaviours are practically and appropriately applied within the workplace environment. What may be appropriate in one culture may not be in another, and therefore the management training or leadership training methodologies need to be tailored and non generic.

For this to occur the executive training program needs to factor in all the variables that affect people and culture of that particular organisation, and to ensure the leadership styles are those which will yield best results.

Can anyone learn these effective leadership styles of behaviour? Yes. Can anyone action them in the same way as a great leader does? Well that depends on how great you are!

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