Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

Leadership: Nature versus Nurture

 -  1/26/07

Whence leadership? The question surely predated enterprise education, but it's taken on new importance as organizations look for ways to develop this crucial competency. Explore how — and whether — leadership can be cultivated through learning.

Leadership: Is it born or is it bred? It's more of a philosophical question than it is a point of debate. For business leaders, though, it's an important question worthy of exploration. Asking whether someone can be nurtured, or "brought up," as a leader is fundamentally questioning whether we can train people to be leaders, regardless of their personal attributes. The very idea of "developing" leaders suggests there are existing skills and abilities to be developed. More likely, it is the right mix of traits, skills, experience and the organizational environment that makes great leaders. Identifying those characteristics that can and cannot be developed is clearly important as organizations strive to populate their talent pools for critical leadership positions.

Leadership Traits and Competencies
Consider the CLO. To effectively drive their initiatives and meaningfully contribute to the organization's bottom line, CLOs must possess a certain body of knowledge specific to their area. One of their key roles is to develop learning architectures and link learning objectives to business needs. Effective CLOs will possess the technical knowledge (e.g. learning technologies, theories of adult development, training metrics and organizational theory) necessary to create a learning architecture that delivers results and builds corporate capabilities (e.g. a stronger leadership pipeline). Although more than just technical knowledge is needed to create and implement learning and development solutions, is it a defining element of a successful CLO?

Inherent in developing learning programs is the role of the CLO as an agent of change. Developing a learning architecture usually means redesigning or replacing an old one. Therefore, CLOs must be proficient at leading change and addressing the resistance that is a part of any change initiative. This requires knowledge of organizational design and development.

As an agent of change, the CLO also must possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills. A CLO must be able to gain the respect, confidence, partnership and participation of senior management. With a lead role in driving new learning initiatives, the CLO must be able to engage and influence individuals throughout all levels of the organization, including the highest-ranking executives.


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April 22nd 2:00pm - 3:00pm ET

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2014 CLO Breakfast Club, Philadelphia
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