Are Leadership Programs really effective, and can leadership be learned?

The following question was raised by a student in my quality management system internal auditor class. “Can leadership be learned or is it innate?” Google searches for “Leadership Programs” receive over 160,000 hits per month. My initial reaction was that leadership is not something you can teach, but some people are born to be great leaders. They have the social skills necessary to be a leader. As a quality audit lead auditor, I have audited hundreds upon hundreds of companies. The majority of these companies are managed and not led.

It got me thinking about how can Brandon Long Denver managers become such a great leaders. This is no easy feat, since there are very few dynamic leaders in the entire world. I then thought that maybe I didn’t really understand what a leader is. I then went to Wikipedia and Webster’s for a definition. This is what this was:

Webster’s Dictionary: Leadership:

1 ? is the position or office of a leader

a to show you the way, especially when you go in advance

to instruct on a particular course or in a specific direction

c: A person who is able to command authority or influence

2 Lead

3 The act of or an instance leading

: Provides direction or guidance leading to the question


“Process for social influence where one person can call on the assistance and support of others in order to achieve a common task”

Wikipedia says that a leader is someone who can influence others and help them achieve their corporate objectives.

You can look back at your past experiences and see the leaders you worked with. They were the ones who could inspire others to do the same and win the support of others. In my most recent experience, out of eight leadership changes over the past six years, two were successful and one was bad. The other leaders were not leaders; they managed. They did not possess the leadership skills needed to influence others and to inspire greatness in their organizations.

You can find thousands of leadership programs on the Internet. They are mostly taught in the old lecture, reading, and regurgitating format. How does one acquire social skills of influence (not to manipulate or threaten) in order to inspire others to collaborate with them towards a common goal using books and lectures? It’s not possible. It is possible to learn leadership only by having someone as a mentor. Affection and awareness are key to the creation of leaders.

Leadership programmes usually do not include conscious or sub-conscious thinking. To be a good leader, you will need to work with a mentor and observe other mentors in order to gain insight into the thinking (mindsets) of leaders. Leaders must be able to identify what motivates people and get them to support the efforts.

They have to know the culture of their organization or group. It would be difficult for someone with a finance background to manage a group engineers if they did not have a good understanding of engineering concepts and were unable to speak “engineering”. This is one reason why companies do not have strong leaders. It is because the financial management or management person is asked to lead a group who they have no idea how to inspire, let alone communicate with. Their intentions may be good but they don’t have the skills or knowledge to lead.

Leaders are enthusiastic about what they want to accomplish and are able to see where everyone is needed to get there. They know their employees and can help them inspire. Leaders lead and continuously monitor the mentality of their company to ensure the company is moving forward. Leaders can be described as business cheerleaders.

Google is receiving over 160,000 queries each month about leadership programs. This is a sign that there’s a need to have a leadership program that focuses on mentoring and mindset. PRO U has been my mentorship and mindset course for the past year. It has made me more confident. I am striving to be a leader and inspire entrepreneurs and small business owners so they can achieve their dreams. The world will be better if there are more real leaders.


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