My 9 year old son started a new season of baseball recently and like every year, the coach spent the first several practices focused only on fundamentals. He went back over all of the basics of fielding, hitting, and throwing so that the kids could break down the mechanics of those skills and practice each step of the process, slowly, thoroughly, and repetitively.
Why don’t we ever do that with leadership skills? I get that motor skills are a little different, that repetition builds muscle memory, and that we are able to perform those physical mechanics almost unconsciously in a game situation if we practice them enough. I know that’s different in some ways from intellectual skills. I also know that when we put aspiring leaders, coaches, and managers in practice situations repetitively, they get better at things like asking good questions instead of just issuing instructions or executing the mechanics of helping someone change behavior to help them be more successful. Leadership may not require practiced hand eye coordination, but it does benefit from repeating the fundamentals associated with leadership behaviors.