Should Everyone Develop Leadership Skills?

If you’re a people manager, I have to believe that over the course of time you’ve had one or more of your direct reports come to you and say, “Hey, I want leadership training.” And maybe that person hasn’t really been somebody who’s been interested or really ever is going to be interested in becoming a formal leader or an actual people manager. And you’re thinking, why would we invest in leadership training for you? Or maybe on the flip side, you’ve been really wanting one of your direct reports to go through leadership training, but they are fighting you saying, “But I don’t want to be a leader, I don’t want to manage people.”

So the question is, should everyone receive leadership training?

And I will tell you unequivocally yes, absolutely every single person should go through leadership training. As a past elementary school educator, I would even advocate for it to be a required course within the curriculum in elementary schools, all the way through early education. Every single person can benefit. If you think about what’s at the core, what are some of the foundational pieces of leadership training? It’s things like emotional intelligence, communication, visionary thinking, decision-making, problem solving.

Don’t those sound like skills we should all have to make us successful individuals, both personally and professionally? Can’t we see how having really strong emotional intelligence can help a non-people-manager when they’re collaborating with their peers? How critical decision-making skills can help a non-people-manager make a decision about moving a project forward or stalling it? Every single person can benefit from these leadership skills. So I encourage you as a people manager, to be open when a non-potential, non-emerging leader is coming to you, asking for this training, and for you to also proactively look to those team members who aren’t necessarily raising their hand to say, I want to be a leader.

Give them that training. We run our flagship Five-Star Leader Workshop and I will tell you, we see just as many non-people leaders participate in that workshop and walk away with tools that are going to help them not just personally be able to be better at their job and work better with others, but it allows them to bring those tools back and affect the greater good.

We all lead from wherever we’re at. So why not you as a people manager arm those so they can lead from where they’re at, at an even greater capacity, and drive greater results for themselves, the collaborative team, as well as the collective organization!