Thursday, May 26, 2022
Bringing the Latest in News Straight to Your Screen


What Good Leaders Can Learn From Good Teachers

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at September 10, 2021

CEO at NewCampus, a modern business school in Asia. Exploring the intersection between the future of work and learning, with an Asian-twist.

“If you can’t do, teach.”

I think we’ve long debunked the myth of Shaw’s famous lines from 1903 with overwhelming accounts of the best leaders being the best teachers, albeit anecdotal. In 2016 however, a study was published in the European Scientific Journal citing several traits that allow an individual to perform mentor functions better. The author, Dr. Aelita Skarbaliene, observed a strong positive correlation between solid leadership qualities and mentorship capabilities.

Finally, some math to support what we’ve known all along: Those who can do, actually teach.

The Ability To Influence

In many organizations, leadership ability is often gauged in the context of business performance. It goes deeper than just a fixation on the bottom line. I’ve found it’s actually the ability to inspire individuals with their own agendas and cause others to rally behind a common goal that makes an effective leader. In a single word, it’s influence. The financial gains for organizational efficiency simply follow. 

If you think about it, influence is largely about communication. It’s about casting a vision so clearly that people get behind it with the best of their talents, abilities and strengths. That’s what great leaders do; they draw out the best from the individuals on their team and allow them to reach their fullest potential, much like teachers.

Teaching Tools For Effective Leaders

Can you recall your favorite teacher when you were growing up? Many of us will have that specific memory that we hold on to. What do you remember about this teacher? What piercing words stick with you still? How has this made you the person you are today?  

As the CEO of a modern business school, I’ve observed that there are several tools that stand-out instructors use consistently. I think stand-out leaders wield the same ones as well.

1. Use individualized growth road maps.

Regular one-on-ones are among the most powerful methods to understand students’ development and engagement. An effective teacher conducts regular and planned conversations allowing students to explore strengths and work out their weaknesses. These one-on-ones become safe spaces where students can pick up insights that are difficult to catch in a group setting. Further, in one-on-ones, learning is more two-way, with active listening going both directions. With consistency, teachers are able to build strong relationships with their students that can energize a class as a whole.  

The same is true for leaders, regardless of the type of organization they belong to. I suggest using regular one-on-ones to track the progress of your reports as they work through opportunities for growth in an individual context. As your team members are motivated to perform at higher levels, the entire team is energized and achieves more collectively.

2. Establish feedback loops that stick.

The ability to give feedback that lands is another mark of a good teacher. Great teachers have mastered the art and science of giving feedback that is specific, actionable and motivating, even when the conversation is challenging. Great teachers know it is a disservice to students to focus only on the positive and avoid the negative. Instead, they frame criticism constructively, encouraging students to respond positively and make meaningful changes. Students can then develop a love for learning.

Aim to give high-quality feedback in order to create a culture of constant improvement. With a growth mentality as the norm, teams have a space for members to boldly try new things since there are margins for improvement. I’ve found teams with this breathing room tend to come up with the most innovative solutions as they approach things optimistically but realistically.

3. Improve your coaching skills.

Many of the best teachers are known for their coaching ability. Instead of dictating answers, they tend to use questions to draw out solutions from their students. Good teachers have this deep belief in the capabilities of their students. When given this trust, students gain the confidence to work things out on their own and exhibit higher performance with more valuable contributions.

Leaders who coach reports often see a reduction of common workplace conundrums, in my experience. They see issues being resolved without their intervention. Take a genuine interest in your reports, not just as a member of your team, but as a whole human being. When a team member feels trusted, they often rise to the occasion and deliver results that wouldn’t emerge had the instructions been simply cascaded for execution. Novice managers are typically surprised by the outcome — great leaders, not so much.

Leadership In Training

It would appear that good leaders and good teachers have a lot more in common than popular culture tells us. It could very well mean that by practicing the disciplines of a good teacher, you’re actually setting yourself up to be a good manager and leader in your organization.

To this, I say that individuals with their eyes set on leadership roles should take every opportunity to train up for that position. In this case, practicing these three tools in teaching roles could be more accessible to you now. Some opportunities include volunteering to teach for company webinars or at universities, mentoring local sports teams for kids or tutoring after school. 

Even if the teaching role is not within your industry or related to a specific role, the lessons that you learn by becoming a mentor to someone will always serve you as you enter any leadership position. 

Those who can, do. And they also teach. 


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


Comments


Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published.