One vital characteristic of Leadership Development is TEACHABILITY!
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”
IF you really want to GROW as a Leader, you must be TEACHABLE and STAY TEACHABLE!
The greatest enemy of learning is knowing. The opposite of one who is TEACHABLE is one who already “knows it all!”
Some people want to be right, even when they are not. And as a result, life is difficult for them. They never find the pathway of learning nor do they learn the lessons life offers to those with a teachable spirit.
Teachability is a choice. We choose whether we are open or closed to new ideas, new experiences, others’ ideas, people’s feedback, and willingness to change.
All the good advice in the world will not help you if you do not have a TEACHABLE spirit!
“Traits of a Teachable Person”
If you desire to find the pathway from failure to success, you need to cultivate the following five traits:
1. Teachable People Have an Attitude Conducive to Learning
People with a teachable spirit approach each day as an opportunity for another learning experience. Their hearts are open. Their minds are alert for something new. Their attitudes are expectant. They know that success has less to do with possessing natural talent and more to do with choosing to learn.
2. Teachable People Possess a Beginner Mind-set
When people are actually beginners, they find it easy to have a beginner’s mind-set. But maintaining that teachability becomes more difficult as you learn more and achieve some success. The longer you are in a position, the less you think you need to learn.
I try to maintain a beginner’s mind-set by keeping the following three things in mind:
1. Everyone has something to teach me…GOOD or BAD.
2. Every day I have something to learn.
3. Every time I learn something, I benefit.
3. Teachable People Take Long, Hard Looks in the Mirror
Becoming and remaining teachable requires people to honestly and openly evaluate themselves on a continual basis. Any time you face a challenge, loss, or problem, one of the first things you need to ask yourself is, “Am I the cause?” If the answer is yes, then you need to be ready to make changes.
Recognizing your own part in your failings, seeking solutions (no matter how painful), and working hard to put them into place leads to the ability to change, grow, and move forward in life.
If you MESS UP, FESS UP!
4. Teachable People Encourage Others to Speak into Their Lives
Teachable people surround themselves with people who know them well and who will lovingly, yet honestly, speak into their life. However, that can be a challenge—for many reasons. First, you must be willing to develop strong enough relationships with people that you can credibly ask them to speak into your life. Second, they must be courageous and honest enough to speak freely to you. And third, you must be willing to accept their feedback and criticism without defending yourself. Otherwise, you will only receive it once!
5. Teachable People Learn Something New Every Day
The secret to any person’s success can be found in his or her daily agenda. People grow and improve, not by huge leaps and bounds, but by small, incremental changes. Teachable people try to leverage this truth by learning something new every day. A single day is enough to make us a little larger or a little smaller. Several single days strung together will make us a lot larger or a lot smaller. If we do that every day, day upon day, there is great power for change.
To be TEACHABLE requires a willingness to learn, unlearn, and relearn!
Living to your potential requires you to keep learning and expanding yourself. For that, you must have a teachable spirit. If you don’t, you will come to the end of your potential long before you come to the end of your life.
Ten Questions presented by John Maxwell that reveal whether or not you have a “Teachable spirit” include:
1. Am I open to other people’s ideas?
2. Do I listen more than I talk?
3. Am I open to changing my opinion based on new information?
4. Do I readily admit when I am wrong?
5. Do I observe before acting on a situation?
6. Do I ask questions?
7. Am I willing to ask a question that will expose my ignorance?
8. Am I open to doing things in a way I haven’t done before?
9. Am I wiling to ask for directions?
10. Do I act defensive when criticized, or do I listen openly for truth?
Remember, the greatest enemy of learning is knowing.
The opposite of one who is TEACHABLE is one who already “knows it all!”