[March 29, 2015] Every newly promoted Brigadier General and Rear Admiral attends a Department of Defense leadership course.1 The objectives are many but most important is that the course helps them transition their understanding from operational/tactical to strategic issues. Important items in the leadership toolbox are leader courses that are a proven way to improve success in leaders.
Whether the leadership course is for the most junior leaders or for those at the senior, the most successful courses have something in common. Each will have a mix of experiences that give the leader a wider view of those issues that most affect their organization’s future. Those experiences will be designed to push the leader out of their comfort zone and force new ways of creative thinking.
This education will likely include a mix of seminars, case studies, group discussions, guest speakers, and visits by key leaders. For more advanced courses this may also include travel to locations that expose the leader to people who will provide them first-hand information that cannot be gained through academic study. All of this is highly orchestrated to ensure the leader’s time is not wasted and that the information and experiences are those most effective.
Leader courses are part of the leadership toolbox that is found in nearly every large organization. My personal experience is that many are poorly constructed and badly executed. When good leaders attend these bad courses, there will nonetheless be opportunities to learn. Better oversight by senior leaders will ensure worthwhile coursework.
Leader courses have significant benefit that cannot be overstated. To ensure the best, these courses require significant investment in resources, both manpower and money. It also means that leaders are not engaged in their normal leader activities while attending these courses.
Such is the cost of improving the leader and that cost should be borne with confidence that the leader now has better tools in their rucksack.
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