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Leadership Can Be Learned

Your business will benefit if you help your team members--especially those who aren't naturally charismatic--develop stronger leadership skills.
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Video Transcript

00:09 Samuel Bacharach: When we speak on leadership, one thing I think is absolutely critical and that is, I really believe totally that leadership is something that can be developed. And I remember a very well-known basketball coach, or a story of a very well-known basketball coach. I won't tell you who but you can research it out. Once went into a class of students and said, "I know leadership and you folks aren't it." This notion that leadership is some... A leader thing that's held... It is in the realm of the few, I find very disturbing. But it excludes the rest of us. If we are talking in the corporate world, in public sector, in higher education about future leaders, it's our responsibly to develop 'em.

00:54 Bacharach: You're running that organization out there, you've got there 25 people, who's gonna take over for you? You've got to develop those people. A lot of people, that may not have the personality or "we think is the personality for leadership", they maybe a little more shy, they maybe more inhibited, they may not be the right culture. But they have the skills, they have the knowledge, they know the business. We have to invest in them. Make sure they develop the skills and can lead. Because if leadership is about execution, we can give good people the skills to execute but if you're gonna still hang leadership on charisma, inspiration, etcetera, you're gonna make it the realm of very, very few. And in this culture, and in this society, we need more than a few leaders. Every organization needs a whole bunch of leaders straight up and down the hierarchy. So, let's develop it. Let's get a little more democratic about our notions of leadership.

Last updated: Dec 27, 2013

SAMUEL B. BACHARACH | Columnist | Director, Cornell's Institute of Workplace Studies

Samuel B. Bacharach is the McKelvey-Grant professor in the department of organizational behavior at Cornell University's ILR School, and is director of Cornell's Institute for Workplace Studies in New York City. Among his books are Get Them on Your Side and Keep Them on Your Side. His latest volume, A Good Idea Is Not Enough: Leading for Change and Innovation, will be published this November by BLG.

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