Can training create great leaders or managers

Recently I have been involved in several discussions around developing leaders and managers within organisations and the role that training, coaching and mentoring plays in creating and developing people to be great leaders or managers or both. I rocked the boat a little when I expressed the opinion that while it was possible to create great managers through training and development, the same was not the case with leaders. Training can make people who already are or who have the potential to be great leaders better, but it cannot create them.

This appeared to challenge the pervailing feeling of several members of the group who suggested that everyone could be a leader they simply need the to have leadership skills taught to them and dveloped in them and as a result of this they would become leaders.
While I think this is definately the case with management and managers where there is a set of skills that can be taught to people and then those skills developed over time, that most people have the potential to be good managers. What stops or inhibites people from becoming good managers is their level of motivation to achieve that goal.

This is not the case with leadership and leaders. While there are many skill sets that people point at as the set of skills that leaders should possess, just teaching and developing these skills to people does not by necessity make them leaders. There is something else they need and whether you call it vision or intutiion or whatever name it takes, it is something that you cannot give to people who dont possess it, no matter the amount of training, coaching or mentoring provided.

I would be really interested to see what other people thought about this.

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About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

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