Being a good leader starts with being a good teacher

There are leadership roles that are given and there are leadership roles that are earned. More times than not, the longevity of a leader depends on if that person was given or earned the position.

In my line of work I have seen many puffed up blowhards that didn’t last long in leadership roles because the people they were supposed to lead did not want to follow. Without people that want to work with you and be involved with you, there really isn’t a leadership role. It’s more of a placeholder role until the company can replace the leader.

One important thing that all leaders should be very aware of and do their best to implement is the role of a teacher versus a leader. People respect and respond to someone that is not just giving orders, but is helping the person to better themselves. There are many teaching moments that are often overlooked that leaders could do a better job with.

I remember one time many years ago I was on a conference call with 4-5 people and I mistakenly would start to talk before the other person was finished. I did that a couple of times on the call. After the call was over my boss called me and said “Keith, I want to have teaching moment with you.” He proceeded to teach me about conference call and phone etiquette when someone else was talking. I really respected how he handled that talk with me. It is big difference when you get called and told how wrong you were versus being called and told he wants to have a teaching moment with you.

That really made an impression with me on how to approach people on your own staff to help them improve. After that call with my boss I had a greater respect for him because he treated me with respect. I believe one of the greatest fundamentals of being a leader is being able to get people to respect you and want to work with you. How you handle these “teaching moments” usually will determine how good a leader you become.

So in summary, if you are a leader, think of your role as a teacher instead of a leader and you will be surprised how much of a leader you become. KT

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