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Corporate Leadership

'Corporate Leadership Training Market is Likely to Grow Due to Rising Demand For Cegos, Dale Carnegie Training,Franklin Covey, Skillsoft, Achieve Forum, American Management Association, BTS by 2019-2024.' - Market Research Updates, May 2019.

 A leadership position in a corporate bears heavy responsibility. There is also often a surprising level of lack of confidence. Many studies discuss the impact of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ at executive level, one report by the Independent claiming that millennials also suffer from the syndrome. A fascinating piece of research by TEC  indicates that many executives worldwide have an internal crisis of confidence, they can’t actually believe that they come across as credible. There is an element of genuine surprise at ‘how did I come to be here?’, and a subsequent internal build-up of stress in case they get ‘found out’.

Young woman looking confident in her leadership role. Office environment, leading a team.

Leadership is the challenge to be something more than average. Jim Rohn

A huge dilemma of course is that corporate leaders find it very hard to admit a need for support and training. There is an assumption, I feel, that simply because they have the job, they have to be good enough. If the same rationale were applied to airline pilots it would be an interesting situation … “well I feel I can fly a plane because I have visited several aeroplane cockpits” rather than “I feel I can fly a plane because I have been trained specifically to do so.”

Airline pilots are an interesting bunch, and I speak as one who qualified as a commercial pilot some time back. The admittance of ability and lack of ability is unscrupulously honest. “Yes, I can fly that type of aircraft” and “No, I would not attempt that type of aircraft because I have not received training and testing on its specific systems.” Personally, I was rated on several types of aircraft, including out of interesting the delightful old Tiger Moth. They didn’t let me near one until I had several hundred hours flying experience, and even then, I had to do rigorous training to handle this twitchy little piece of aviation delight. We could note perhaps that in WW2 the RAF pilots started on this difficult aircraft from scratch. A bit like corporate leaders being thrown into their jobs.

Unscrupulous honesty about ability often seems to be lacking in executives, probably because of the culture of corporates. But thankfully it is changing. I sat recently with a CEO in the rail industry whilst he briefed one of his directors about what he should expect as a result of undergoing coaching with me. There was refreshing open and honest discussion about current ability, and areas for development.

Do we have the courage to be honest? For the airline pilot the answer is ‘yes’ because failure is a life and death issue. As for corporate leaders, Kouzes and Posner in their long-term study entitled ‘The Leadership Challenge' recorded that after studying over 15 different countries over 25 years, one of the key qualities of effective leaders is actually ‘Honesty’. The most difficult part of honesty  is, of course, honesty about self.

Market Research Updates  record that the demand for corporate leadership training will rise over the next 5 years. This is great news, because it reflects a greater honesty in corporates across the board. Not only is honesty good for leadership, it is of course good for corporate success.

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Mark Miller is MD of Goodfoot, and author of 'Hamsters Can't Dance",  a tongue in cheek look at management challenges.


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