Dollars and Sense: Leadership training is for everyone now

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

&8220;Leadership&8221; is one of the busiest &8212;if not the busiest &8212; buzzwords we encounter as we race into the battle for business in the new decade.

It&8217;s as if leadership skills were a revolutionary new discovery.

New they are not. More than 50 years ago, Peter Drucker recognized the seeds of leadership when he observed that it &8220;usually gravitates to the man (businesswomen were in short supply at the time) who can get up and say what he thinks.&8221; To that ability to communicate, he linked the practice of good human relations in the leadership training he pioneered.

It was not by accident that leadership has become the talk of the business world today. Various powerful factors have propelled it into new prominence &8212; technology and globalization of business for instance.

Leadership and Productivity

Demand for leadership and leadership training has grown, too, as unrelenting competition has focused attention on the direct relationship between good leadership, greater productivity, profits and turnover.

Further, the explosion of information, rapid development and widespread acceptance of technology have put added responsibility on sustained leadership skills.

Creative management is also taking a new look at its most important asset &8212; people. Management is seeing a wealth of untapped potential just waiting to be brought out and put to positive use. It is realizing the dollar-and-cents value of providing employees, highly skilled in other areas but lacking in leadership skills, the opportunity to develop them.

In addition, business is confronting the necessity for filling in gaps in academic training, gaps that reach as high as the graduate level. It is not at all unusual and no longer surprising to find men and women with advanced degrees enrolled in leadership classes. Some want to learn better human relations. Others want to develop the ability to listen and communicate effectively. These are skills basic to good leadership. These also are skills frequently neglected or overlooked on campus.

With all these as well as other forces at work, training is an exciting and exhilarating experience for those who offer it and those who take it