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随处可见的“领导力培训”,对每个人都奏效吗?

随处可见的“领导力培训”,对每个人都奏效吗?

ELIAS ABOUJAOUDE 2021年02月15日
面对诸多提升领导技能的机会,领导力的失败却仍然随处可见。

埃利亚斯·阿布贾伍德写道,领导力培训变得相当受欢迎,有无数可供选择的培训项目,但并不是每个人都适合。图片来源:NORA CAROL PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

领导力正变得无处不在,同时也变得稀缺。对领导力的“痴迷症”在整个文化环境中普遍存在着:称职者都渴望获得“领导职位”;有的中学就开设了“领导力课程”;有创意点的,还有各种“首席”头衔的泛滥(甚至还有“首席糕点官”),以及无数培训和拯救领导者的“高管教练”。

为了迎合日益旺盛的需求,一个名副其实的领导力产业应运而生。除了教练,这一产业还提供MBA课程、高管训练营、管理康复课程、领导力高级学位和“领导力教授”。各种各样的培训传递出一则信息:领导力是一门“可教授”的科学,而不是复杂而不可预测的运气、环境、经验和个人性情的结合体。

但是,面对诸多提升领导技能的机会,领导力的失败却仍然随处可见。难道是因为这些领导者没有聘请合适的教练吗?如果领导力产业不存在,不能提供领导力培训服务,情况会比现在还要糟糕吗?还是说,这归咎于领导力“痴迷症”的蔓延,给那些走错道的人们描绘了一条假想的“通往高层之路”?

一位偶然参加领导力培训机会的人,会被他们展现出来的自信和一些流行语的反复使用所震撼——培训项目往往承诺称,在建立“个人品牌”的同时,创造“有改革精神”的“变革推动者”,提出“创新”、“激励”、“赋能”、“释放”和“颠覆”这些关键词。相对而言,很少有人关注可能会使培训过程复杂化、受阻的负面个性特征,也很少有人关注为什么有些人不是“天生的领导者”。而培训过程中的干预往往来自非治疗专业人员,以这些所谓课程开发人员、教授的能力,无法解决这些障碍。每个人都“变成了”可塑的领导原材料,在领导力潮流中通通受到欢迎。

以我曾经的病人,32岁的MBA学生杰夫为例。我第一次见到杰夫的时候,他刚开始在商学院学习,此前,他曾在非洲做了六个月的环境研究。杰夫的目标是回到美国,帮助新兴环保科技企业家获得美国的小额贷款。他的课程涵盖了如何领导他人和组织机构,但是,培训人员未能“诊断”出杰夫是一个严重的内向者。

练习和指导让杰夫产生一种感觉:他可以像外向的同学一样自如地进行融资推介。课程想要告诉学员的是,任何人都可以成为社会动物,掌握支配人际交往的能力——但这并不可能实现。在推介演习、角色扮演练习和商务寒暄训练中,杰夫一路胆战心惊,他甚至不得不寻求药物来“减缓心跳”。最终,杰夫担心自己永远不可能成为“那样的领导者”,他选择退出培训。

即使领导力培训的科学性已被证明,今天的文化环境仍可能使其复杂化。无论是好是坏,科技让我们的社会变得更加“水平”:父母与孩子之间、教授与学生之间的自然等级结构,已经从根本上动摇了。我们感到更有见识,更有自我赋权之感。因此,我们不会轻易放弃手中的权力。诸如优步司机的零工经济萌生,也意味着自由职业者比重变大。那些领导者牢坐在金字塔顶端的机构,慢慢变成了旧日的余晖。

此外,过去的领导者是“偶像”,我们可以将个人抱负和事业投射到他们身上,因此,从某种程度上说,领导者是一张白纸;相反,今天的领导者是一本公开的书,他们的个人经历、缺点、品位和立场都被公开记录,成为公共素材。

如果公众知道约翰·肯尼迪频繁出轨的丑闻,知晓温斯顿·丘吉尔的“黑狗”(他把自己的几次严重抑郁症称为“黑狗”),他们可能就不会成为我们今天所钦佩的领导人。隐私缺乏,领导者的秘密坦之于众,让我们无法从最好的视角去“想象”领导者的样子。我们需要“从无名到成功”的励志领导者故事,但我们忍不住会想去搜索他们的绯闻轶事!这是一个“优步化”的世界,一个后隐私时代的世界,领导力变得愈发复杂,没有哪个培训夏令营能解决这个问题。

还是得重申这句谁都知道的真理:不是每个人都能成为领导者。太多的人被驱使着寻求领导职位,以证明自己的价值;职场里充斥着太多模糊的高管岗位和头衔;一个庞大的产业应运而生,操纵着这种奇怪的供求关系。在这个过程中,我们忽视了心理学的基本原理,令人畏惧的文化趋势,以及纯粹的狗屎运对走向领导之路的巨大作用。

激发人们的雄心壮志、提供发展机会本身没有错,但不应该以牺牲人们的自卑情结为代价。我们需要赞颂各种层级、各种角色的人们所提供的生产力——即使是追随者的角色,也需要颂扬。因为没有他们,就没有成功的领导者。支持他们,看好他们,尊重他们的内在价值,而不是他们所谓的“领导潜力”。(财富中文网)

本文作者埃利亚斯·阿布贾伍德是斯坦福大学医学院的作家及精神病学临床教授。

编译:陈聪聪、杨二一

埃利亚斯·阿布贾伍德写道,领导力培训变得相当受欢迎,有无数可供选择的培训项目,但并不是每个人都适合。图片来源:NORA CAROL PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

领导力正变得无处不在,同时也变得稀缺。对领导力的“痴迷症”在整个文化环境中普遍存在着:称职者都渴望获得“领导职位”;有的中学就开设了“领导力课程”;有创意点的,还有各种“首席”头衔的泛滥(甚至还有“首席糕点官”),以及无数培训和拯救领导者的“高管教练”。

为了迎合日益旺盛的需求,一个名副其实的领导力产业应运而生。除了教练,这一产业还提供MBA课程、高管训练营、管理康复课程、领导力高级学位和“领导力教授”。各种各样的培训传递出一则信息:领导力是一门“可教授”的科学,而不是复杂而不可预测的运气、环境、经验和个人性情的结合体。

但是,面对诸多提升领导技能的机会,领导力的失败却仍然随处可见。难道是因为这些领导者没有聘请合适的教练吗?如果领导力产业不存在,不能提供领导力培训服务,情况会比现在还要糟糕吗?还是说,这归咎于领导力“痴迷症”的蔓延,给那些走错道的人们描绘了一条假想的“通往高层之路”?

一位偶然参加领导力培训机会的人,会被他们展现出来的自信和一些流行语的反复使用所震撼——培训项目往往承诺称,在建立“个人品牌”的同时,创造“有改革精神”的“变革推动者”,提出“创新”、“激励”、“赋能”、“释放”和“颠覆”这些关键词。相对而言,很少有人关注可能会使培训过程复杂化、受阻的负面个性特征,也很少有人关注为什么有些人不是“天生的领导者”。而培训过程中的干预往往来自非治疗专业人员,以这些所谓课程开发人员、教授的能力,无法解决这些障碍。每个人都“变成了”可塑的领导原材料,在领导力潮流中通通受到欢迎。

以我曾经的病人,32岁的MBA学生杰夫为例。我第一次见到杰夫的时候,他刚开始在商学院学习,此前,他曾在非洲做了六个月的环境研究。杰夫的目标是回到美国,帮助新兴环保科技企业家获得美国的小额贷款。他的课程涵盖了如何领导他人和组织机构,但是,培训人员未能“诊断”出杰夫是一个严重的内向者。

练习和指导让杰夫产生一种感觉:他可以像外向的同学一样自如地进行融资推介。课程想要告诉学员的是,任何人都可以成为社会动物,掌握支配人际交往的能力——但这并不可能实现。在推介演习、角色扮演练习和商务寒暄训练中,杰夫一路胆战心惊,他甚至不得不寻求药物来“减缓心跳”。最终,杰夫担心自己永远不可能成为“那样的领导者”,他选择退出培训。

即使领导力培训的科学性已被证明,今天的文化环境仍可能使其复杂化。无论是好是坏,科技让我们的社会变得更加“水平”:父母与孩子之间、教授与学生之间的自然等级结构,已经从根本上动摇了。我们感到更有见识,更有自我赋权之感。因此,我们不会轻易放弃手中的权力。诸如优步司机的零工经济萌生,也意味着自由职业者比重变大。那些领导者牢坐在金字塔顶端的机构,慢慢变成了旧日的余晖。

此外,过去的领导者是“偶像”,我们可以将个人抱负和事业投射到他们身上,因此,从某种程度上说,领导者是一张白纸;相反,今天的领导者是一本公开的书,他们的个人经历、缺点、品位和立场都被公开记录,成为公共素材。

如果公众知道约翰·肯尼迪频繁出轨的丑闻,知晓温斯顿·丘吉尔的“黑狗”(他把自己的几次严重抑郁症称为“黑狗”),他们可能就不会成为我们今天所钦佩的领导人。隐私缺乏,领导者的秘密坦之于众,让我们无法从最好的视角去“想象”领导者的样子。我们需要“从无名到成功”的励志领导者故事,但我们忍不住会想去搜索他们的绯闻轶事!这是一个“优步化”的世界,一个后隐私时代的世界,领导力变得愈发复杂,没有哪个培训夏令营能解决这个问题。

还是得重申这句谁都知道的真理:不是每个人都能成为领导者。太多的人被驱使着寻求领导职位,以证明自己的价值;职场里充斥着太多模糊的高管岗位和头衔;一个庞大的产业应运而生,操纵着这种奇怪的供求关系。在这个过程中,我们忽视了心理学的基本原理,令人畏惧的文化趋势,以及纯粹的狗屎运对走向领导之路的巨大作用。

激发人们的雄心壮志、提供发展机会本身没有错,但不应该以牺牲人们的自卑情结为代价。我们需要赞颂各种层级、各种角色的人们所提供的生产力——即使是追随者的角色,也需要颂扬。因为没有他们,就没有成功的领导者。支持他们,看好他们,尊重他们的内在价值,而不是他们所谓的“领导潜力”。(财富中文网)

本文作者埃利亚斯·阿布贾伍德是斯坦福大学医学院的作家及精神病学临床教授。

编译:陈聪聪、杨二一

Something is afoot that has made leadership both ubiquitous and scarce. On the one hand, there is a culture-wide obsession with leadership. Among its symptoms is the desire by anyone worth their salt to seek a “leadership position,” middle-school “leadership curricula,” ever more creative C-suite monikers (“chief pastry officer,” anyone?), and countless executive coaches at the ready to train and rescue leaders.

A veritable leadership-industrial complex has sprung up to meet the booming demand. Besides coaches, it includes MBA offerings, executive boot camps, management rehab programs, advanced degrees in leadership, and “professors of leadership.” The message from these opportunities is that leadership is a teachable science, not a complex and unpredictable intersection of luck, circumstance, experience, and temperament.

Yet, despite so many improvement opportunities, we see leadership failure everywhere we look. Did these leaders simply not hire the right coach? Would it be even worse if the leadership-industrial complex did not exist to offer its services? Or is it partly to blame for nurturing the leadership obsession by helping individuals motivated by the wrong reasons visualize a way to the top?

A casual follower of leadership training opportunities is struck by their self-confidence and the recurrence of certain buzzwords. Programs promise tested recipes to create “transformative” “change agents” who can “innovate,” “motivate,” “empower,” “unleash,” and “disrupt” while building a “personal brand.” There is comparatively little attention paid to inconvenient personality traits that might complicate the process or get in the way, and to how some people are not “natural leaders.” Interventions from the mostly non-therapists developing and teaching these programs may not be able to reverse these obstacles. Everyone seems to be reasonable raw material and to be welcome on the leadership bandwagon.

Consider Jeff, a 32-year-old MBA student and former patient of mine. When I first met him, Jeff had just started business school after spending six months doing environmental research in Africa. Jeff’s goal was to return there to help budding green technology entrepreneurs obtain U.S. microloans. His curriculum covered how to lead people and organizations but failed to “diagnose” Jeff as a serious introvert.

Through practice and coaching, Jeff was made to understand he could become as comfortable pitching investors as his extroverted classmates. The curriculum seemed to communicate that anyone can become a social animal capable of dominating interpersonal interactions. But that never happened, and Jeff would palpitate his way through dry-run pitches, dreaded role-play exercises, and obligatory schmoozing, driving him to seek a medication that would “slow [his] heart down.” Fearing he could never become that leader, he dropped out.

Even if leadership training tools were scientifically proven, today’s culture can still complicate the emergence of leaders. For better or worse, technology has made us a more horizontal society. Natural hierarchies, such as between parent and child or professor and student, have been fundamentally shaken. We feel more informed and therefore more empowered. As a result, we do not easily cede authority. The Uber-like gig economy has also meant that many people are now free agents, making organizations with leaders firmly seated on top of a pyramid-like structure look like edifices of the past.

Also, leaders of the past have been people onto whom we can project personal aspirations and causes. But this requires that our leaders be, to some degree, a blank slate. Instead, today’s leaders are an open book, with their biographies, foibles, tastes, and positions all a matter of public record and public fodder.

JFK and Winston Churchill might not have become the leaders we admire today if the public had known about the former’s compulsive infidelity or the latter’s “black dog,” as he called his bouts of severe depression. The absence of privacy is depriving us of the ability to imagine leaders in the best possible light. We need leaders to be somewhat unknown to succeed, but we can’t stop Googling! Like Uber-ization, a post-privacy world complicates contemporary leadership, and no visioning camp can resolve that.

It is so basic as not to require stating, but it does: Not everyone can be a leader. Too many people are feeling compelled to seek leadership positions to prove their value; too many vague executive roles and titles are being created; and a large industry is mediating the curious supply and demand. Along the way, we are ignoring fundamentals of psychology, daunting cultural winds, and the outsize role of pure, cold luck in who gets to lead.

There is nothing wrong with stoking ambition or offering development opportunities, but it should not happen at the expense of giving people an inferiority complex. We need to celebrate human productivity at all its levels, starting with the followers without whom no successful leader has ever emerged. Support them, invest in them, and respect them for their intrinsic worth, not their “leadership potential.”

Elias Aboujaoude is an author and clinical professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

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