Page 8 - Jackson Journal
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 In their book, “No Hard Feelings” The Secret Powers of Embracing Emotions at Work, authors Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
make a pointed statement that “leadership is a skill, not a role.” I find this comment to be highly accurate and insightful as a way to differentiate leadership and leading. The age-old question of “are leaders born or made?” is one that will continue
to be debated for years to come. If you accept
the premise that leadership is a skill, embracing concepts from the books like “Mindset” by Carol
S. Dweck, that posits leadership abilities can be developed through a “growth” versus “fixed” mindset, it would logically follow that leaders
can be “made” because the “skill” of leading
is something that can be developed, coached, nurtured and assessed.
I am a firm believer that repetition breeds confidence; confidence breeds competence, and competence breeds mastery. Like the daily training at Fort Jackson throughout Basic Combat Training (BCT), Advanced Individual Training (AIT), an officer & non-commissioned officer professional development courses, the cornerstone of training is repetition. The repetitive nature of doing most things brings with it a familiarity that leads to successful learning. This is what is desired as an outcome of training. I’ve often said that “training
happens to you; it is the learning that is the
desired outcome of the training.” Combine gained experience over time, varying conditions, and the repetitive nature of influencing others by providing purpose, direction, and motivation in various organizations enables the Army to develop leaders. The fundamental question then becomes, why do all leaders not develop equally?
How could we end up with leaders (Leader A) who are very self-aware, maintain high competence and character, possess humility, as well as a heightened connection to Army attributes and competencies? While on the other hand, we may end up with leaders (Leader B) who lack self- awareness, display more hubris than humility,
and become “counterproductive” leaders (the
new doctrinal term in ADP 6-22 for “Toxic”)?
The bigger question is, what can we do about it,
and how do we level the playing field when both leaders A and B have been provided the same, if not similar, learning opportunities, experiences, and doctrine?
Enter assessments to help the Army comprehend approaches to leader development and enable people to become better leaders. The purpose of this article is not to regurgitate our assessment doctrine, nor is it to cover the full depth of the
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