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Monday, 10 December 2012 19:32

Can leadership truly be taught?

I was posed an age old question on LinkedIn recently through one of the leadership groups I am part of:

Can leadership truly be taught? Is it an innate skill that we are born withor can it be learned?

I have been asked this question hundreds of times, and my answer has changed almost each time I have been asked (with my thoughts often dominated by the more recent group of leadership participants). Now, I am not much of a gardener (more brown thumb than green!), but the metaphor of a growing tree seems to fit my current thoughts on leadership more than any other, having worked with adolescent and adult leaders for the past 4 years.


If you take a young tree when it is sapling, and encourage it to grow the way that you know is best for the tree, pruning it at the right time and giving it the right level of care, it can grow to be anything you want it to be - within the limitations of its own potential. You try and do the same thing to an older tree, and your efforts will be more hit and miss. The tree may have established itself in poor soil, grown in the wrong direction or had little attention. In some cases some TLC and a careful prune will get it in the right direction, but other times the tree will not take to the dramatic change in its environment, and will respond poorly to the change.


The same applies with leadership development.

I have seen young leadership potential turn into amazing leadership skill through care, nurture and honest constructive criticism. You can apply the same model to someone later in life, but they have to be willing to learn. Holding on to old processes, values, relationships or behaviours that are not in accordance with good leadership will make it seem like leadership cannot be taught, but it is more likely a lack of acceptance of the requirement to change.
Therefore I truly believe that leadership can be taught to everyone if you start early enough and have the right environment and skill at your disposal.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your opinions on whether you beleive leadership can be taught (or on the appropriateness of the tree metaphor).

Friday, 12 October 2012 00:26

Ormond Primary School

We were fortunate to work with the Year 5 student group from Ormond Primary School on 11 Oct 2012. We had worked with the Year 6 students at the start of this year, and this MetaMorph workshop is now part of a fuller teamwork and leadership development initiative. Ormond Primary asks Kameleons to come and work with their Year 5 students at the end of the year, focussing on teamwork and providing the teachers with greater observation of students as they make decisions on School and House captains. In Year 6 we work with the students in Week 2 of the first Term, with the aim of focussing on leadership skills as they begin to fulfil their roles as leaders within the School. We have also provided the Year 6 teachers with an additional activity that the students complete in class time, utilising the skills they have learnt in both sessions and addressing the multiple intelligences of the students to complete the task.

This time, we were lucky to avoid some ugly Melbourne weather! The Year 5 students completed Walk the Plank, Magic Boots, Invisible Maze and Optinal Mast activities.

Felicity Hall-Shulman, Year 5 and Leadership development Cooridnator had this to say about the MetaMorph workshop:

'Today at Ormond Primary School as part of our leadership program our Year 5 students participated in the MetaMorph workshop with Michael. In such a short amount of time the students displayed team building, initiative, resilience and leadership skills. It was fantastic watching our students rise to the occasion and enjoy themselves. The workshop was fun, educational and very beneficial for both students and teachers - a great day for all. We look forward to Michael visiting Ormond Primary School annually'.

At Kameleons we are still getting our heads around how this new feature from ted Ed can be used for education purposes, because the opportunities seem endless. Last month we featured the video 'Build a Tower, Build a Team' from the ted.com website. This month, the ted.com's Education unit introduced a feature to their website that enables you to 'flip' a video on ted.com or Youtube and turn that video into an interactive lesson.

Monday, 07 May 2012 06:18

Leading with a 'little l'

lead learn puzzle tilesLeadership is a very popular topic at the moment. Politicians don’t show enough of it (or the right type), mining CEO’s are vocal about it and football teams have so much of it they have leadership groups and sub-groups. Everyone has an opinion on what is good leadership, and (according to the media) it seems that all of the identifiable leaders in Australia seem to lack it in some substantial way.

Friday, 04 May 2012 04:04

Annunciation Primary School

Kameleons completed the MetaMorph workshop with the Year 5/6 students from Annunciation Primary School on 27 February 2012. Due to the small number of students and inclement weather, activities were adapted to suit the indoor environment.


When asked 'What does good leadership and teamwork mean at Annunciation Primary School?', students came up with the following responses throughout the workshop (initial responses from students were built upon during debriefs after each activity).

MetaMorph - Annunciation School whiteboard

        Set the example         Guidance         Listening
        Speak / act appropriate               Treat as be treated                  Encourage 
        Think through         Communication         Share ideas            

 

Here are some of the things that the teachers and staff have had to say about the workshop.

MetaMorph - Annunciation School 1MetaMorph - Annunciation School 2MetaMorph - Annunciation School 3

Students

'On the 27th February, a man named Michael from Kameleons came to work with the 5/6 children. We were split into 3 groups and he taught us some different activities that developed leadership skills. We did a plank game, building a tower, magic boots and the maze. Some of our favourite games were the magic boots, plank game and the maze. We think that these activities boosted our team work skills and got us thinking.'

'Our group thought that the invisible maze was the most enjoyable and challenging game to play. We especially learnt about communication with our team mates and how to show leadership. We learnt what qualities help to make a good leader. It was really fun and a great couple of hours!'

'There were many things our group enjoyed doing with Kameleons. We learnt how to be a good leaders and what things help to build communication. We learnt that to working together helps to build team spirit and good communication helps everyone to work well in teams. We really enjoyed the games we played and the things we learnt.'

 

Friday, 04 May 2012 04:03

Annunciation Primary 3

There were many things our group enjoyed doing with Kameleons. We learnt how to be a good leaders and what things help to build communication. We learnt that to working together helps to build team spirit and good communication helps everyone to work well in teams. We really enjoyed the games we played and the things we learnt.

Annunciation Primary Year 5/6 Student

Friday, 04 May 2012 03:59

Annunciation Primary 2

Our group thought that the invisible maze was the most enjoyable and challenging game to play. We especially learnt about communication with our team mates and how to show leadership. We learnt what qualities help to make a good leader. It was really fun and a great couple of hours!

Annunciation Primary Year 5/6 Student

Friday, 04 May 2012 03:53

Annunciation Primary 1

On the 27th February, a man named Michael from Kameleons came to work with the 5/6 children. We were split into 3 groups and he taught us some different activities that developed leadership skills. We did a plank game, building a tower, magic boots and the maze. Some of our favourite games were the magic boots, plank game and the maze. We think that these activities boosted our team work skills and got us thinking.

Annunciation Primary Year 5/6 Student

Friday, 04 May 2012 02:27

Christchurch Grammar School

Kameleons has worked with the Year 6 class at Christchurch Grammar School in Term 1 for the last 5 years. Activities completed have been designed to ensure that the group focusses on teamwork and leadership skills as they undertake the various roles in leading the School. Here are some of the things that the teachers and staff have had to say about the workshop.

Students - 2010 & 2011

img 2937“I enjoyed the activities a lot. I found them fun but they weren’t as easy as they first seemed. You couldn’t work independently, you had to work as a team if you wanted to be successful. Some words that come to mind when demonstrating good team work are communication, listening, encouragement and planning.”

“Last Monday we spent the morning working with Michael Peiniger. We did some activities based on group learning, teambuilding and also individual learning. All the challenges tested your group working skills and your patience. I learnt a great deal and I really enjoyed it."

"I really enjoyed Mr Peiniger’s activities, especially the wood plank walk and the minesweeper game. We really enjoyed working on our leadership and teamwork and the games helped us bond with each other better. First we were split in into four groups and started the group games. The games involved 4 Skills; Strength, Smarts, Leadership and teamwork. I would recommend it to everyone and anyone. Five stars! *****"

img 2943"I thought it was great having Mr Peiniger come and give both year 6 classes a session about teamwork at the beginning of the year. Mr Peiniger had us take part in some activities exercising our leadership skills. My team didn’t go so well, but we all learnt how to effectively support each other and it really enhanced our teamwork skills."

'I thought it was great having Mr Peiniger come and give both year 6 classes a session about teamwork at the beginning of the year. Mr Peiniger had us take part in some activities exercising our leadership skills. My team didn’t go so well, but we all learnt how to effectively support each other and it really enhanced our teamwork skills.'

Students - 2012

'Year 6 did some Leadership activities with Michael Peiniger. We learnt about teamwork in some of the activities. We had to know our goals to succeed in the activities. We found people's strengths in the tasks and we used them but we remembered you are only as fast as the slowest team member. The good people also the less strong in the activities. The best activity was the 'gum boot' game.'

'Michael Peiniger, a specialist in teamwork and leadership, came to talk to Year 6 about leadership and we played some great games which involved all types of leadership. He talked about some of the key things that leadership needs such as finding strengths, controlling emotions, communication and working with others. My favourite game was making a tower as high as possible from spaghetti. Just using spaghetti and tape a marshmallow must sit on the highest space of the tower. I learnt a lot of skills that will help my leadership in the years to come and I also learnt that there is no I in team!'

 

Staff

"Michael came and worked with our two Year Six classes at the beginning of 2010. His team building workshop was a great way to begin a year where pupils are encouraged to develop their leadership skills and work together in leadership teams. The activities Michael had devised were engaging, interesting and relevant to the year level. The pupils were highly motivated throughout the workshop and were especially keen on the physical nature of the tasks. The combination between physical and mental activities meant it catered for all needs. It was fantastic to see the pupils working cooperatively and supporting each other to achieve a common goal. I would highly recommend Michael to work with Upper Primary and Lower Secondary pupils."

Angela Hawkins, Year 6 Coordinator, CCGS


CCGS - Testimonial Beryl Gregory


About Kameleons

We develop leaders that build high performing teams to deliver improved business outcomes.
We refine leadership skills and behaviours for optimal people performance.
We utilise individual strengths and addressing skill deficiencies to meet and exceed personal and business expectations.

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