How Can Leadership Be Taught? Implications for Leadership Educators

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Whether leadership can be taught is a decades-long debate. The purpose of this descriptive quantitative research study was to better understand how leadership is taught and learned. One- hundred-and-thirty-two K-12, college, or university faculty, staff, or administrators responded to a survey questionnaire on leadership. The majority (74.54%) of participants who were leaders reported that they felt prepared for leadership positions. The majority (86.36%) of participants reported that leadership can be taught, with only 3.79% indicating that leadership is not a teachable skill. Abilities to create positive work environments, communicate to constituent groups, lead change, and supervise personnel were the top-ranked leadership competencies. Dealing with personnel matters; navigating institutional, local, and state politics; and managing complex budgets were listed as the top challenges leaders face. Participants reported that leadership can be learned through formal education, mentorship, and leadership experience. Participants emphasized the importance of human relations and communication skills for leaders.