Can you learn to lead?

Sit back for a moment and think about this question. Do you believe leaders are born this way? Or have you maybe yourself invested tons of time and effort into developing your leadership skills? There must be a reason for the sheer size of the leadership coaching industry and the amounts of money companies spend on it right? Well, the answer to the question is not a simple yes or no but rather a: “it depends on the way you look at it”. So what does it depend on?

Assess yourself

A good way to start is by finding out how to assess leadership. Leadership is a process and not a state – let alone a position – so it’s necessary to assess what part of the journey you’re on. This can be viewed from different angles. Your boss, peers, subordinates and yourself might have entirely different views of your leadership skills. It can make sense to see where everybody sees you. But most importantly assess yourself. Constantly. Reflect on your intentions, your techniques and your “success rate”. Find out where you’re going and what you need to get there and take your people with you.

Developing leadership skills

Leadership skills always need nurturing. You can have a certain talent but there’s no way you don’t have to develop and train that. That’s just a matter of evolution really. A distinct feature of a lot of great leaders is their will to develop and to learn. If you get tired of problems and challenges, you might want to rethink your attitude. Because the best way to develop your leadership skills is to set yourself up for every new task and challenge there is. Stay invested and stay positive. Always trying to be the best for your people. That’s essentially who is profiting the most from your leadership skills.

Grow grow grow

If you want to become a great leader, you need to do a lot of growing. You need to grow skills, trust, experience, knowledge, etc. After all, growth is usually at the end of the company targets anyway. If your company needs to grow, you need to grow.

So to come back to our question: yes, you can learn to lead in the sense that you can (and have to!) develop your leadership skills but you need to want to do that. You need to want to grow – always. And maybe that wish you are born with.

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