All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Great news! The discussion about leadership from my previous blogs, A Chance Meeting at the Airport and Leadership Can’t Be Taught . . ., is still going strong, evoking a lot of differing opinions and valuable insights for me. Thanks to everyone who has joined in.
In order to throw a little more gasoline on the fire (for all you rockers out there, remember Bonnie Tyler’s great line: “living in a powder keg and giving off sparks”) I have another thought about the topic of why leadership can’t be taught.
Let’s look at some very famous and well-respected leaders. I think there would be pretty much unanimous agreement that the following individuals displayed great positive leadership:
- Abraham Lincoln
- Thomas Jefferson
- Martin Luther King
- Mother Teresa
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Winston Churchill
So, my question is very simple. What leadership class did they take? Did they attend a seminar on leadership? Did they go to the World Business Forum in New York City and listen to Jack Welch or Jim Collins? Did they read “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” or any of the many popular books on leadership found on the Amazon best seller list?
“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Obviously not. They weren’t taught leadership in a classroom or a seminar. They learned it themselves. How? By reading history books and stories about great leadership in the past, by having a cause that was bigger than their own needs, by putting themselves “in harm’s way” and wading into the issues others avoided, by having faith in themselves, their vision, their God, and other people.
Leadership can’t be taught, but it can be learned.
My advice to those seeking to develop greater leadership skills; get out of the classroom, avoid the seminars, instead get out into the world. Find a big problem and volunteer to fix it. Take on the worst assignments at work. Study great leaders (read about them, don’t take the “rented knowledge” passed out by professors and leadership gurus – do your own homework). Leadership can be learned, if you have the courage and commitment.
Tight Lines . . .