Over the past few years I have noticed a shift in my focus on leadership. As my own leadership has grown, I find myself looking for ways to help others.
This does not mean that everything I do has provided excellent results. Nor have my efforts been error free. But, as I have learned to start developing young leaders around me, and as leaders around me have done the same, I have noticed one thing.
Leadership education happens in a classroom. Leadership development happens through experience.
Educating leaders is not an unworthy task. In fact, as I talked about here, I believe leaders should develop a habit of consistent learning. So, there is a definite place for the classroom in leadership development.
However, knowledge of a subject does not lead to experience in the subject. We cannot neglect real world leading as a teaching tool if we desire to develop leaders.
Each summer over the past four years I have taken a group of students on a leadership trip. The trip is very education focused, and it serves a great purpose. But only recently have I started understanding the importance of giving these student leaders opportunities to lead.
Then, when students (or adults), have an opportunity to lead, they grow. And that’s my goal–to develop leaders.
Develop leaders, don’t just educate them.
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