As I work on my new on line leadership coaching programme for hoteliers I was asked today if you can train leadership. Good question; and brings us back to one of those perennial questions – are leaders born or made?
According to extensive long term research carried out by CHPD (for whom I work as an external leadership consultant) a proportion of leadership performance is influenced by personality, values, beliefs and attitudes, which are either inherent or formed relatively early in life. A second component is the person’s skills and experience, which although can’t change over night, can be developed over time. But by far the biggest proportion of leadership performance is determined by our behaviours, which are the easiest component to change.
So can you train leadership? Yes, I believe you can. Providing you identify the behaviours needed and then work on developing those behaviours that will give the biggest impact on a person’s performance.
These might not be where the person is weakest. Rather than plugging a gap to develop a weak spot (unless it is having a detrimental impact) and end up with mediocre performance, it may be better to capitalise on a person’s strengths and develop those instead. (I think back to my recent interview with Peter Thomson – “people will never consistently do who they aren’t”.) Then set up teams where individuals complement one another. Think of a football team; if someone showed an aptitude to do well in goal, you would be more likely to develop this skill rather than try to develop this person in every other aspect of playing football; what you are more likely to do is develop their goal keeping skills.
One of the first things to do in changing someone’s behaviours is making them aware – being aware of what they are doing, and the impact this has (see article on feedback), then help them identify how to build on positive behaviours and change negative behaviours.
Foundations in Leadership is a new approach to hospitality leadership development. Do you ever feel you aren’t getting everything you want from your team? Instead would you love to tap into their true potential so you can focus on the bigger picture? Find out more about the programme here and take advantage of the fast action bonuses.