Friday, April 5, 2013

The best leaders are teachers


"As a leader, you have to have a teachable point of view.” Jack Welch

The days of hoarding information for power are coming to an end. Leaders these days – the good ones, anyway – are teachers. 


The hallmark of great leaders and great companies is their ability share what they know and reproduce who they are.

When we think of people that impact our lives, we think of people who had the ability to teach and create an environment of growth. Leaders must initiate growth by becoming the teachers of today, because the leaders of tomorrow will be the ones who keep growing and developing others.

Our greatest threat is satisfaction. The failure to keep asking, “How can we improve?” can mislead you to take a comfortable route and leave you behind your competition.
Teaching is what separates great leaders from good ones. Let’s think about it, teaching should elevate your entire organization. 

The goal is to pass on what you know so that everyone can do more. It is the opposite of information hoarding. It is empowerment. It is the ’loop closing’ stage in the development cycle.

Leadership expert Noel Tichy has taught about leadership and teaching in major corporations.  Noel Tichy said, “A teachable point of view is your opinion on what it takes to lead other people. It’s essentially your approach to leadership.”

Here are some suggestions on how to become a leader/teacher:

First, ask yourself, what do you wish to convey about leadership? What have you learned? Spend time preparing your message, and most importantly, reflect upon key lessons you personally want to share, not borrowed from a book or someone else’s presentation.

Secondly, ask yourself, how do you want to deliver your point of view to your audience? Some leaders prefer meetings. Some prefer one-on-one and others may prefer to share stories with their team. Depending on the message you wish to deliver, it can have the proper set up for your communication.

Finally, who is the audience to benefit from this message? Is it leaders at all levels? Peers or bosses? Just your direct reports and team? Give thought to who might be interested and who will benefit from your teachable point of view.

Creating your teachable point of view is a wonderful way to develop your team. For starters, it will sharpen your own story telling skills, because to “teach” something, you really have to know the content. But it’s much more than that – this really isn’t about you; it’s about your audience. Just think of how many people you can impact with your views on leadership. Develop your own point of view about what it takes to lead, and start sharing it in your organization.

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