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Can leadership be developed through learning or practice?

September 18, 2019


Leadership skills, abilities are very important to every leader. In this article I explore the studies, what the others say about leadership can be developed through learning or practice? There are different ways that the leaders to advance their leadership skills. Some of them learn leadership skills from classroom or books, some of them develop the skills by practicing in their daily life, some of them study and review their past experiences. Whatever the way they develop the skills, the important is effectiveness of their leadership quality in the field.

Two researchers from Canada and USA (Lillas M. Brown, Barry Z. Posner, 2001) investigated the leaning Tactics Inventory and leadership practices Inventory. They investigated how two important research streams, namely learning and leadership might be related with one another. One is about how people learn and the other is about how people lead. In this study they attempt to connect these ideas together.

Analyse data in relation to the topic

Data collection for this research consists of total number 312 respondents included 114 (36%) female was in three different sources. The first were mid-level managers from large high-technology company enrolled in a university based management development course. The second were working professionals, across a variety of high-technology organizations engaged in evening MBA program. The third were a cross–section managers enrolled in Executive MBA program. These respondents completed both the learning tactics inventory and the leadership tactics inventory. The results of data illustrated each of the learning tactics as hypothesized, was significantly correlated with each of the leadership practices. Below here are the tables they produced in the report. This report includes 2 tables, but no other graphs or charts.

Table-1 show the correlation between learning tactics and leadership tactics. The strongest correlations with leadership were with the learning tactics of thinking and with accessing others were the weakest correlations.

Table-2 show the mean scores of low and high group of learning tactics and leadership practice. This table affords more detailed view of the previous findings. Relations between respond’s frequent. The analysis gives strong support to the argument that learning is subsequently related to leadership. Better learners, those with high score, regardless of learning mode, consistently engaged in leadership practices more frequent than did those in the low learning category. 

In the argument they stated that the leaders from highly technical companies, such as those involved in the study, who are highly educated in traditional sense would have well-developed “thinking” learning tactics and that they would be more self-reliant, independent and not particularly keen to “access other people” for help. 


The leaders who lead with learnt knowledge of leadership skills and the leaders who practice without knowledge of leadership skills will have difference results. The leaders, learning knowledge of leadership skills would be someone past experience for many times and that results may happened repeatedly in the past history, but leaders who practicing without proper leadership skills knowledge and do just own thinking may not have previous results or past experience. Leadership skills Learning and practicing are related with one another and one tactic may influence more than the other. In this research results indicated more active and versatile learners subsequently consider themselves more frequently involved and engaged in leadership behavior. Finally my argument for my topic question “can leadership be developed through learning or practice?” is that the leadership skill learning can helps more to develop leadership quality than practicing leadership skills also combined with both are more effective to develop leadership skills.


Lillas M. Brown, Barry Z. Posner. (2001). Exploring the relationship between learning and leadership. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 274-280.

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