27 September 2023

Class acts: Why the best leaders are also good at teaching

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John Eades says the true measure of any leader is how they pass on their knowledge and skills to others in order to help them grow and develop.

Everybody loves to know who the best is in their field.

It could be the best sports coach, the best company to work for, or in this case, the best teacher in the world.

Recently the Varkey Foundation awarded the 2019 Global Teacher Prize to Franciscan Brother, Peter Tabichi (pictured).

Brother Tabichi was chosen out of 10,000 nominees across 179 countries.

His work as a science teacher to high schoolers in a small Kenyan village won him the award.

He overcame long odds to win the grand prize of $1 million, and his comment afterwards is one from which every leader should learn.

“Seeing my learners grow in knowledge, skill, and confidence is my greatest joy in teaching.”

A leader must embody many roles to be successful in today’s modern work environment.

None are more important than teaching others.

The skills needed to stay relevant are changing rapidly in every industry.

The latest statistics presented at the Work Rebooted Conference in San Francisco showed that 670,000 jobs are being stolen by robots each year.

This sounds gloomy until you see that there are 40 times more jobs being created.

The difference: The skills required to do those jobs of the future aren’t the same as the skills required to do the jobs of today.

This means that it’s more important than ever to help others grow and develop their skills.

It not only helps set the individual you are teaching up for success, it helps your organisation as a whole be more successful.

One of the best ways to help set people up for success in the future is to be a teacher to others.

In order to do this, it requires something you probably feel you have little to give away — time.

Set aside time in your schedule or find time in a moment of need, but either way don’t hesitate to grab a white board and teach.

When you share your passion, competence, and experience with others, you make an impact that lasts a lifetime.

If you don’t have the expertise in a particular area that needs to be taught, point people in the right direction and financially support their development.

Getting anyone to develop to a better future state begins with a growth mindset.

If you’ve read Carol S. Dweck’s book Mindset, you’ll find that term familiar.

In simple terms, Ms Dweck suggests: “We can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and solve problems.”

One of my favourite exercises to get someone at any age or skill level to adopt this way of thinking comes from Adam Grant’s book, Power Moves.

First, have the person reflect on a time when they changed significantly.

Then and only then, ask them to make a persuasive case for why their next change is possible.

They’ll literally talk themselves into having a growth mindset.

Much like Brother Tabichi, it’s your turn to be a leader who teaches.

Find your greatest joy in seeing others grow in knowledge, skill, and confidence.

*John Eades is the Chief Executive of LearnLoft and author of F.M.L. Standing Out and Being a Leader. He is also the host of the Follow My Lead Podcast and can be followed on instagram@johngeades.

This article first appeared on John’s LearnLoft blog.

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