Postcard from the Edge
The Leadership Training Illusion
Apparently, we spend over $300 billion a year on leadership training. Almost every strap line includes words like “transformative”, “sustainable”, “powerful”, and other indicators of permanence. This is very much at odds with experience, which suggests that leadership training in large company cultures has the half-life of an M&S Custard Tart.
Which is not to suggest the training is less than good. I know few people who have not come away from such training, having enjoyed it and with insights about themselves and their organisations. It’s just that whilst they’ve been away, the organisation has been trundling on regardless. I remember one comment that went along the lines of “I feel as though I’ve been taken to the top of a mountain, and shown a beautiful and memorable view, but that the people who got me here have just gone off in their helicopter and left me to find my own way back down to my daily reality.”
I often think we have made “leadership” something we get promoted to from “management," whereas in most situations, give me a choice between a skilled manager and an aspirational leader, and I’ll take the manager every time. Leadership is situational and contextual, not a role and is available immediately on demand.
I liked this article on Jürgen Klopp. He is a brilliant manager and an instinctual leader who has not, as far as I can see, ever been on a leadership course. He exhibits exquisite awareness, even in his decision to leave Liverpool.
Be more Klopp.