Who Can Teach Leadership?

English: Autumn colour at The Leadership Trust...

English: Autumn colour at The Leadership Trust Trees in the grounds of the business to the west of Weston under Penyard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mel’s hand went up precipitously and unexpectedly, like thunder on a clear day. I had barely begun introducing the leadership course I would be teaching over the coming weeks. “I have a question, Professor.” I gave him the floor.

“What makes you think you can teach us to lead?”

I looked around. A roomful of puzzled managers silently stared back. Five minutes into our first class, my students were already questioning leadership. Mine.

Mel had looked me up on the web and learned that I had spent one decade training as a medical doctor and psychiatrist and another working in business schools. I have researched leadership, taught and coached thousands of MBAs and executives, consulted and directed leadership programs for global organizations. None of it had escaped Google’s microscope, revealing an issue that Mel wanted me to own: I am an academic.

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