I am very passionate about our motto “Great leaders are not born, they are All Trained Up”. I have met numerous business owners who disagree this point with me, a few leaders and even fewer team members. I do however think it is unrealistic to believe the skills of leadership come naturally, and also extremely unfair. Those who have these skills innately are very few and far between. Granted, they should be respected and admired, but it is not giving ourselves, or our businesses a fair chance to survive and continue to thrive by holding onto the belief that leadership is a natural born gift. Given the right skills and opportunity and equipped with the right attitude, most can become extremely capable and even inspiring leaders. Most team members and current leaders agree with my motto because they can see and experience first hand the impact an unskilled and untrained leader has on the team and the business. How do I know? Well, I was one of them. My first experience in leadership was not an enjoyable one. I, like many were promoted not on my leadership experience but my work experience. I was a very successful sales person. I had won numerous sales awards and this coupled with an ambitious mentality, meant I was on the fast track to management. Unfortunately, being good at sales didn’t automatically translate into being good at leading the sales team. Yes, I knew how to do their job but being able to motivate, inspire and guide them was another altogether different challenge. I remember feeling like a failure because I had gone from being at the top of my game to not wanting to go into work each day. I was naïve to the difference between being a successful team member and inspiring team leader, and frustrated at being thrown into the role without any transitional skills gap training. It still surprises me every day how many businesses I come into contact with that keep promoting their people based on work experience and don’t provide training for aspiring, new or struggling leaders. It is almost seen as a weakness to put your hand up and ask for help as a leader and acknowledge that most don’t come across these skills naturally or by chance. I believe this one of our biggest weaknesses in business and it is time to come to the realisation that leadership is a skill, and if it is learnt will have huge impacts on the profitability and productivity of a business. After all, how many of us have left an organisation not because of our job but because of our manager?
Leaders:Born or Trained?
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