Put your leadership journey on a whole new path of fulfillment says Doug Dickerson

An article in Pew Research revealed about a quarter of American adults (24%) haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. Think it’s just the younger generation not reading? Not so fast. The survey revealed that older adults are a bit more likely than their younger counterparts not to read a book. The survey revealed that some 28% of adults aged 50 and older haven’t read a book in the past year.

As a leader, the one thing that will give you a distinct advantage both personally and professionally is that you are teachable. Your personal growth and development are non-negotiable if you are a leader who desires to succeed.

It’s important to keep in mind that your growth and development is the result of intentional behaviors that you embrace. You must be disciplined. So, what are some of the habits of teachable leaders that must be embraced? Here are seven for your consideration.

1. Teachable leaders are readers

You can come up with every excuse in the book (pardon the pun), but teachable leaders are readers. There are just too many options now available not to. From traditional print books, audio, or on your device, there’s no shortage of access or books, blogs, and magazines to choose from. If you are not teachable and reading, then how can you effectively lead the people who are?

2. Teachable leaders are listeners

It’s part of a leader’s responsibility to talk, engage, and articulate visions, which requires being out front and being the voice that brings clarity to the mission. But what’s equally as important, if not more so, is being a good listener. How else are you going to know what’s on the hearts and minds of your people other than by listening to them? When you cultivate the art of listening, you demonstrate a teachable attitude. Talk less, listen more.

3. Teachable leaders are humble

The older I get the more I’ve come to realize just how much I don’t know. It’s humbling.  Over the years, I’ve come across people who think that they are “experts” on everything. No matter what the subject, they seemed to know it all. Teachable leaders, on the other hand, are wise enough to know their limitations and are willing to surround themselves with those who complement them and make them better. A teachable leader has the self-awareness to know that they don’t possess all the answers and are humble enough to keep learning and growing.

4. Teachable leaders ask a lot of questions

For the teachable leader, this is where genuine humility pays off. Teachable leaders ask a lot of questions because they want to keep growing. The advantage teachable leaders have over others is the ability to set aside pride and humble themselves and ask the questions others won’t. It’s in the asking of questions – not in your silence – that growth takes place.

5. Teachable leaders have positive attitudes

Nothing will get in the way of the learning process more than a bad attitude. Henry Ford was right when he said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” As a leader, your attitude will be your greatest asset or the greatest liability that holds you back. You choose it and you own it. Teachable leaders will succeed or fail, by and large, with their attitude.

6. Teachable leaders seek wise counsel

In as much as teachable leaders are readers, they also understand that they need people speaking truth into their lives. A teachable leader seeks out the counsel of people who can give them guidance and insights from their experiences. As leaders, we all need people in our lives who can inspire us, challenge us, and hold us accountable.

7. Teachable leaders are lifelong students

For the teachable leader, class is always in session. Once you discover the joy of a teachable spirit then you will never stop growing. Most of your education will take place after your formal schooling. This might sound peculiar but there are just some things in life that you won’t learn in a classroom.

What I believe is that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: Curious and teachable

Roger Ebert

Are you a teachable leader?

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Doug Dickerson is a respected leadership author, speaker, and trainer. He is a John Maxwell Team member and a Certified DISC Trainer. He resides outside Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

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