Are you teachable? Really?
It’s critical for a leader to answer this question honestly, because the level of our teachability determines our level of lead-ability.
When you’re experiencing momentum in ministry or business, it’s easy to start believing you are the secret sauce to that success. It’s tempting to get a big head when you’re on a roll. It’s easy to quit listening to outside voices because you either think you don’t need them, or you assume they’ll mess up your secret-sauce recipe. “I know what I’m doing” is the mantra of the unteachable leader.
Our level of teachability determines our not only our level of lead-ability, it also is an accurate predictor of our long-term level of maturity.
King Solomon wrote: “Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will add to his learning.”
How we respond to input from others reveals something about our character. If we’re dismissive and disinterested, why is that? What’s going on inside of us that prevents receptiveness? If the only voice we listen to is our own . . . be afraid. We’re walking in dangerous territory.
Great leaders never stop learning from other people. In fact, they more the learn, the more they discover what they don’t know and need to learn. Let me offer three reasons why leaders who experience long-term success are intentional about being joined at the hip with other individuals who pour into their life:
1. They know they’ll get farther ahead
Sir Isaac Newton perhaps said it best: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” When I think back over 40+ years of ministry and corporate experience, every season of growth was marked by multiple people speaking into my life. All along the way, God provided friends and colleagues who cared enough to tell me the truth, to set me straight when I was thinking (or behaving) incorrectly, and to encourage me when I wanted to quit. Anything worthwhile I’ve accomplished up to this point in life has been a team effort.
2. They know if they stop learning from others—they’ll eventually fail
Scripture tells us: “Pride goes before a fall.” We’ve seen the end of the pride movie too many times, haven’t we? When we think we know it all, or believe we’ve arrived as a leader—watch out. A deep ditch awaits ahead. Pride hinders relationship possibilities. Pride isolates. The “I don’t really need you” attitude leads down a path to bizarro-world. Great leaders refuse to let success swell their head, nor allow it to paint them into an isolated relational corner.
3. They know leading is more fun when learning from/working with others
Success is a journey best enjoyed in the company of others. Jesus—the Son of God—the Creator of the universe—shared His journey primarily with twelve guys. I can think of many reasons why: sustainability, multiplication of the message, etc. But I wonder if another reason is simply it was more fun for Jesus to do the work with a team? In the gospel of Luke, when a group of 70 short-term missionaries returned from their first outreach, and reported to Jesus the wonderful miracles that happened, we learn He was “full of joy” at their amazing report. Great leaders understand their calling is more fun when they learn and do their stuff alongside others.
Leader: are you teachable?
As your circle of influence grows, you’ll be tempted to become less receptive. Can I encourage you, that when success knocks on your door, to stay humble and teachable? To cultivate a set of people who speak truth into your life? People who love you too much to let you get full of yourself?
Teachability sets you up for reaching your God-given potential without ruining your life in the process. It protects you from falling on your face. And it offers the possibility of enjoying at a greater level the assignment God’s given to you.
I’m rooting and praying for you!
P.S. – Converge Coaching Mentors serve as guides who come alongside you and help you with your journey. This week we have a special offer: a free mentor session for the first 10 leaders who sign up. You can sign up here
Leaders who invite Converge Coaching mentors into their journey are getting healthier, becoming more confident, and feeling more competent in their calling.