Stay informed and ready to meet both everyday challenges and long-term planning and policy-making goals, with focused news, practical information, and strategic insights on all HR-related...
April 12 — A new survey highlights the fact that not even HR professionals can agree on whether leadership skills can or should be taught.
Almost four in 10 companies from around the world provide no leadership training, according to a survey of 438 HR professionals, results of which were released April 4 by the McQuaig Institute, a Toronto-based talent assessment company.
About half (49 percent) said their organizations have no formal succession management program, despite barely one-quarter of the respondents thinking their leaders are “very effective.” The opt-in, online survey took place Feb. 1-25, with the U.S. and Canada furnishing 47 percent of the respondents.
“It's easier to train some basic leadership skills at a junior level,” Ian Cameron, managing director of McQuaig, said in an April 12 interview with Bloomberg BNA. That means providing starting- to middle-level managers with training on such things as how to provide constructive feedback to subordinates, do performance management and implement changes using communication skills, said Cameron, who added that he provided leadership training for 11 years before coming to McQuaig.
His opinion largely agreed with that of Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based LeadershipIQ. “Everyone can develop some modicum of competency” in basic leadership skills, although most will never be at the level of a Steve Jobs or Richard Branson, he said in a separate April 12 interview with Bloomberg BNA.
The problem is that organizations tend to single out individuals who are good at a particular job, such as engineering or nursing “and promote them to a leadership role” for which they may not be suited and for which the organization frequently doesn't train them, Murphy said.
Employers don't offer leadership training because their senior leaders frequently lack some of the requisite skills themselves, so “it's hard for them to put their hands up and say we need leadership training,” Cameron said, adding that managers' lack of time frequently looms larger than lack of money in explaining why leadership training isn't available.
“Most organizations don't train anywhere near enough,” Murphy said.
On the other hand, “I come down firmly on the side that leaders are born—it's an innate set of variables,” Dick Grote, founder of performance management consultancy Grote Consulting Corp. in Frisco, Texas, said in an April 11 interview with Bloomberg BNA. “For someone to be considered a high-potential employee” for a leadership role, he said, that person should have four characteristics:
Not all high performers fit that description, Grote said. As for innateness, great historical leaders like Winston Churchill “never went to Leadership 101,” he pointed out.
The truly exceptional leaders do have innate skill, Murphy agreed, comparing it to athletic or musical ability. “With a few years of training” on the piano, he said, “you can get people to be able to play ‘Für Elise,' if not to the Vladimir Horowitz level.” And as for hiring a great leader, “selection is an iffy process,” he noted, and many organizations are “terrible” at it.
To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris at email@example.com
The McQuaig Institute report can be obtained by visiting http://info.mcquaig.com/2016-talent-survey-report-a-0.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)