The Different Learning Styles Used in Leadership Development

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As quoted by Henry Ford, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty”. Learning is a continuous process that starts from the moment of birth to death. It is a crucial factor needed for both the individual and the organization in order to grow and advance in life (Ray French). The purpose of this report is to explore more on how the endless experiences gained from learning affect us in an organization in terms of being a good manager and a leader.

For centuries, leadership learned through nurture or nature has been a hot debating topic. (Seijts) argues that although talent may be a contributing factor to be an effective leader, it is not enough and high competencies must be developed and learned by a general individual to excel as a successful leader. Leadership is a top-down approach that stimulates members within an organization to be learners as well as teachers. Many literatures have given their views on how learning is connected to managing and leading. (Ray French) says learning is a process that happens unconsciously while (Casey, 1983) suggest it is about “doing things differently”. Likewise, (Augsten and Thomas, 1991) view learning as a new or improved change that takes place within a person. Although, most writers seem have diverse perspective towards learning, it is agreed that individuals desire to learn in order to excel in life or organization.

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Taking that into account, (Brown and Posner, 2001) found that learning is extensively connected with how managers act and engage in an organization in terms of learning styles (action, thinking, feeling and assessing others) and leadership styles (challenging, inspiring, enabling, modelling and encouraging) concluding that the learning styles are highly correlated with transformational leadership that promotes creativity in order to offer a better individual, team and organizational performance. (Robbins & Judge,). On the other hand, (Yukl, 1999) asserts that transformational leadership fails to incorporate an interactive communication in an organization as a whole. Correspondingly, (Gronn, 2002) claims that transformational leadership misses out on key aspects of learning within the organization. Additionally, effective communication also plays an important factor that makes leader-learners excel in an organization (Deborah J. Barrett, 2006) as it is the method used to create a trustworthy environment to empower and motivate leaders as well as the employees to work better.

Furthermore, (Johnson and Scholes, 2002) reports that organizational learning is a continuous process that is accomplished as a result of variation in knowledge, skills and experience of an individual in an organization with a particular set of beliefs & culture where inquisitiveness is encouraged. (Cooksey, 2003) described about “learnership” in order to bring forward both the ideas of organizational learning and leadership together. This idea intends to create an atmosphere for flexible leader-learners who are adept in adjusting to different leadership styles based on the situations. Therefore, leadership is an essential and a critical component as managers tend to play a key role in exploiting the learning and transferring knowledge to develop employees ability as well as organizational effectiveness (Handy, 1995). Additionally, (Kristy et. Al, 2007) made similar statements indicating that experienced learning is associated with effective learning and a good leadership in a manager.

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