Can You Learn to Take a Leading Role?

Last Updated Jan 29, 2008 6:07 PM EST

Once, back in my consulting days, I was pitching a client in London â€" and choking terribly, blathering on about how my agency could help make the prospective client into a "thought leader."

Fortunately, a friendly member of the client's team was somehow able to make sense of what I was saying and came to my rescue. He rose, his impeccable Savile Row suit showing nary a crease, and said in his clipped yet sonorous Received Standard English accent, "Ah, yes-- How does one describe leadership? One can lead from the front, yet one also puts dog on lead, and so leads from behind-- " No one really knew what he meant, but it sounded good and we made the sale.

But can leadership truly be learned? Or is leadership a quality innate in some but absent in others? That's the question pondered by Jenna Miller in her latest Back to B-School post, "Learning How to Lead."

"Ask 50 people what makes a good leader, and you'll likely get 50 different responses," she notes. "Sure, there will be similarities, but the concept of leadership is not as easily defined as, say, vertical integration."

Well, can you learn leadership in the classroom? You tell us.

Coffee's Still for Closers Revenue down? Blame sales! Prospects diminishing? Blame sales! Have a fight with your spouse? Blame sales!

Seems the folks on commission are always the one's getting the blame, yet they're the only ones, says Sales Machine's Geoffrey James, with a "direct and immediate connection between your strategy and the day to day behaviors that the salesforce exhibits."

As one commenter put it: "The reality of sales is that you perform or die! We are always the first to go to the chopping block."

So is it time we gave sales a break? Or should we just continue to ride 'em at break-neck speed all the way to the knacker's yard?

And if salesfolk want to sell more, they should also eliminate "Salesman Voice."

Busy Blogging I may be prejudiced, but I really got a kick out of Carmine Gallo's interview with Catching Flack's Jon Greer about blogging for business. I may be prejudiced because my last job was managing two business blogs for Yahoo and I recently published a piece on corporate blogging in iMedia. In the interview, Greer shows Gallo that blogging essential to almost every business's communications tool box. I couldn't have said it better myself.