A NASA senior leader who attended both Authentic Leadership 1 and Authentic Leadership 2 recently and was extremely pleased with the learning he took away, admitted unabashedly, “If I were told the content of your course, I would have made unlimited excuses as to why I couldn’t attend.”
Given his candor, I asked him how he might encourage others to take the Authentic Leadership training and here’s how he responded:
“Being from an agency that is immersed with introverted techno–geeks, most don’t possess (nor are they interested in) the people skills necessary to manage/lead. This training needs to be an element in their Individual Development Plans/Performance Plans and needs to be a requirement for those who aspire to be supervisors/managers/leaders.
“Here are my thoughts/perspectives on how individuals in a techno-geek organization might be [motivated] to take the courses:
- The Authentic Leadership courses teach the essential skills and techniques needed to look at challenges from different perspectives. It [helps people develop clarity about how to handle] difficult situations and promotes wisdom and facilitates self-confidence in the process.
- The Authentic Leadership courses empower you to succeed. Great leaders are made, not born. This course uses diverse techniques and examples to emphasize the point that with a little hard work we all have it in us to be great leaders.
- The Authentic Leadership courses teaches valuable skills needed to lead effectively, including the often-tricky skills needed to persuade and influence people — even those over whom you have little direct authority.
- The Authentic Leadership courses encourage introspection. These courses present the opportunity to get to know yourself a little better by exploring your motivation to lead, and to test your levels of self-confidence, emotional intelligence, and other qualities that are needed to become a good leader.
- The Authentic Leadership courses surround you with other leaders who have similar challenges. This course gives you the opportunity to network with other leaders and to draw on their experiences. You’re given the opportunity to study how leadership ideas have emerged and changed over time, helping you make sense of the often-conflicting ideas about leadership that cause so much confusion.
- The Authentic Leadership courses helps you progress to the next level—adding immeasurably to your skill set. Most [leaders] have never taken courses that teach them how to manage/lead people or organizations. [Or they’ve never integrated the learning from courses.] Because of this, they might not have a clear idea of where they want to go and how they want to lead. There are expansion opportunities that they haven’t considered or relationships they haven’t advanced.
- The Authentic Leadership courses help you clarify your vision. You’ll learn how to communicate your vision in a way that truly motivates the people around you. Successful leaders have a clear, sound vision of where they want to go why they want to go there. This training gives you the chance to step back from your daily responsibilities, to examine your organization, and to think about how the future may unfold.
- The Authentic Leadership courses will teach you how to influence people. The training helps you discriminate between good and bad sources of power, and between strong and weak methods of influence. You uncover the elements of motivation and show you how to motivate your team.
- The Authentic Leadership courses teach you how to build a team. You’ll gain insights on how to pick a good team, how to build a team capable of delivering your vision, and how to give orders without coming off as either too weak or too overbearing.
- The Authentic Leadership courses teach you how to avoid [or recover from] mistakes. The training will give you a glimpse of the worst mistakes you can make as a leader. It also teaches you how to help map out a plan for avoiding the traps and pitfalls that can end your leadership career.
“Throughout my career, I’ve asked many people to define leadership, and … a lot of similar competencies are mentioned: being competent in conflict resolution, empowering others and taking initiative have been examples. However, styles of leadership and the way these skills are applied have differed.
“We need to encourage leadership development, and not leadership training. Some leaders dislike being trained yet will welcome and be motivated by being developed. I presume the resistance to training is because it is associated to standards and best practices, is focused on the present, and is centered on the known. The term developing focuses on the future and maximizing potential, and explores the unknown.
“We must not train leaders, but mentor, coach and develop them; we should step away from this idea of cookie-cutter leaders that maintain the status quo and encourage unique development that is focused on the person.
“I believe you and your courses could encourage the proper leadership development and, if not, I don’t know what will!
“My biggest question, will the real leaders please stand up?”