Is strengthening your skills really what you are dreaming of?

Michael Scott talks about his leadership skills.

When I work with clients who tell me they want to improve their leadership skills or build stronger teams or present better or be stronger in interviews, I always ask them why they want this. What are they trying to achieve with these strengthened skills? Are they just responding to the listicles that tell them these skills are the secrets to success?  My bet is that “being a better leader” is not what gets you going each day. But victory in your project or business is the driver that works.
Working on leadership skills (for example) in a vacuum is not effective in most cases. (There’s a reason for the HBS case-based methodology)  And it’s certainly not fun.It’s like teaching people calculus without giving them a good reason to want to learn it. Not fun and not motivating.

I find the most effective way for you to strengthen these skills is to hone them in the pursuit of your particular desired goal. Do it in a real world way to achieve results that give you feedback: this technique works; this one works better; this works in this instance; this works with this person but not with that one. Be aware of your progress and mistakes so you can learn from them and correct course as needed.

As you improve, you’re getting done what you want to get done: developing the product, making the movie, designing the future – whatever it is that gets you out of bed in the morning.

So to all those people who never understood why they had to learn calculus and hated the learning of it, I say “I don’t know either. I hated it too. And I was a scientist. (Once, long ago.)”