Why the Best Leaders are Teachers

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 Peter Tabichi. 

Tabichi, a teacher who happens to also be a Franciscan Brother, 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.

Tabichi overcame long odds to win the big award and grand prize of $1 million dollars, and his comment after winning the award 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’s role is one of a teacher.

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–which is 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 but it helps your organization 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.

Focus on the learner’s mindset.

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, Dweck suggests that “we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and solve problems.”

One of my favorite 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 themself 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.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success eadand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

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