The New York Times, Sunday Edition, has been running a series The Corner Office over the past several weeks. In each, a senior manager is interviewed abou their take on leadership. Today’s interview, with Eduardo Castro-Wright, In a Word, He wants Simplicity points to the known short-comings in many MBA trainings: people skills. He makes the point that business schools are strong on finance, strategy and other such topics, but do little to prepare leaders of people for the sorts of conversations that take up most of their working day: How to talk to someone you’re firing; how to handle an employee who may need time off because of a sick child; how to respond when someone’s performance is being impacted due to divorce pressures.
The sad thing is, such skills are learnable, just not via case studies or power point. It involves being willing to take a look at yourself, to experience how you come across to others and learn how to modify your way of connecting accordingly. By the by, this also helps you to build credibility with your staff, which — as Castro-Wright points out — is key to modern leadership.
However, power point and case studies are easier to teach.