Do You Believe Leadership Can Be Learned? | International Franchise Association

Do You Believe Leadership Can Be Learned?


While it may be true that some people could be described as “born leaders,” it is often the case that great leadership is a learned set of behaviors.

In today’s tight employment market, leadership has become even more important as a primary goal of any company is retaining top talent. And it has often been said that “people leave people, not companies.”

The inference here is that the leader of the organization has a huge responsibility.

Great Leaders = Great Coaches

Great leaders know what it takes to motivate their employees to meet their company goals. They create an inspiring vision with clear objectives and goals. They provide the resources needed so their teams can achieve great things. Great leaders know when to coach to correct performance and when to recognize progress and results.

The best analogy is that of a football game. The fans cheer with every first down; in other words, they positively reinforce their team as they make their way to the end zone for a touchdown. Great leaders do the same; they recognize and appreciate the small wins along the way to meeting the big goal. Also, just like in football, leaders coach when there are opportunities. All great football teams have great coaches.

Leadership Theories & Traits

There are many proven theories to help leaders understand what it takes to drive great performance.  In the motivation arena alone, one example is empowerment theory, which involves giving your team the authority to determine how to meet goals. 

There are also theories regarding the “traits” of a great leader. While not every leader possesses all traits, general knowledge of the most successful can make a difference. For example, extraversion is considered a trait seen in many great leaders. I have known leaders who are introverted, but when in visible leadership situations, they push themselves to be extraverted. Does that mean you should not be authentic? No, it simply means that flexing your style can be important.

Business Schools Teach Success Through Leadership

You can learn by observing great leaders. However, understanding some basic tactics to become an even stronger leader can be helpful. Learning how to build a culture that is true to your franchise is also important. These are the types of things learned in business schools—all designed to help you be an even more successful franchisee.

For more information on the Franchise Management Certificate from the College of Business at the University of Louisville visit

Dr. Kathleen Gosser (PhD, University of Louisville) is an experienced leader in the franchise industry and a passionate educator. In her 30 year career in the franchise industry, she has enjoyed numerous roles, including leadership of customer satisfaction programs, operations measurement, employee recognition, training and team member engagement efforts. She also had direct P&L accountability as the Region Coach of 10 restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky.