Nurturing the next generation of natural born leaders

Written by Louise Moore on 21 January 2019 in Opinion

Louise Moore shares some recent findings about leadership with TJ readers.  

Reading time: 2m 30 seconds.

Can leadership be learned or is it an innate skill we are all born with? According to University College London, there is indeed a genotype associated with the inheritance of a ‘leadership trait’. Fuelling the nature/nurture debate, others feel that leadership is a skill that can indeed be learned. 

Evaluating external influences 

Just like learning any other skill, growth of leadership should be measurable and so the first step should be to create a means of self-assessment. Understanding of your own gifts and limitations is crucial in any form of learning, but perhaps even more so when it comes to leadership.

By including an element of psychometric testing, learners can assess their core strengths and set their own individual objectives. By encouraging learners to evaluate the external influences that impact their leadership style, they then have the ability to put the necessary checks and balances in place to advance this skill set. 

Just like learning any other skill, growth of leadership should be measurable and so the first step should be to create a means of self-assessment.

Understanding others

While the first step builds on developing self-awareness and the impact of that self on others, the next target is to increase social awareness as your learners start to see things from a different perspective and pay greater attention to how their actions impact upon others around them. The ability and openness to the opportunity to learn from others, is an essential leadership skill. 

This can be achieved within an organisation with the use of an individual coach or mentor, meaning there is always a minimum of one other perspective to consider. Throughout any learning, interactive methods can be introduced, such as videos, exercises and face-to-face training to increase their understanding of others.  

Communication skills 

Great leaders, whether they are introverted or extroverted, tend to have strong communication skills and an infectious enthusiasm for their cause or company. These are skills that can be developed through training and nurturing your learners.

By challenging potential leaders, encouraging candidates to set themselves communication and presenting challenges outside of their comfort zone, you can set out a clear path between where they currently are in their development and where their potential could take them, and ensuring that path is evident is a crucial step in their development.  

Whether or not you believe in the presence of a leadership gene, should your learners aspire to be a Barack Obama, Bobbi Brown, Jessica Ennis-Hill or Richard Branson, they need to be furnished with the relevant learning and progression opportunities.

Developing and nurturing your workforce benefits the individual as well as the business; 52% of millennials highlight career progression as the leading factor that makes an employer an attractive prospect. Both proving and communicating that the development path within your organisation is clear and evident is in everyone’s best interests to invest in learning and development.


About the author

Louise Moore is a Client Partner at Hemsley Fraser. The Fundamentals of Leadership Programme from which this insight was drawn was developed by Hemsley Fraser and EDF Energy. 


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