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Gail S. Williams
Leadership administrator

Gail S. Williams

Gail S. Williams directs the Leadership Alchemy Program at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Whole-Person Learning

My unequivocal answer is YES, leadership can be taught, not via a training class, rather by a transformational development program like the award-winning Leadership Alchemy Program at NASA Goddard Space
Flight Center.

In my opinion, participants, first, must choose to be learn about leadership (not be sent to a program to "be fixed"), second have a personal leadership vision that is bold and to which they are strongly committed and willing to recommit to when challenges arise. I
consider leadership to be more than what one knows -- it is how one behaves, what I like to call one's "way of being." In my experience, leadership is best learned in a community of like-minded people who support each others learning in the context of real-world issues of import to both the learner and the organization in which they work.

The greatest leadership learning I've witnessed is when people learn in a whole-person way -- intellectually, emotionally, and somatically. Enhancing one's leadership also requires moving outside one's comfort zone, and I believe this must be supported by teachers who challenge the student to be much bolder than they normally are inclined to be.

Another key ingredient is creating a safe space for learning by doing -- essentially a learning laboratory where people can practice what they learn, sometimes fail, other times succeed, and continually learn whatever the outcome.

By Gail S. Williams

 |  April 21, 2009; 7:06 AM ET
Category:  Teaching Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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