“If you’re a learner everybody is a teacher.” – Claude Thomas

When I first came on staff at Southview, the church where I serve as Lead Pastor, I met with the current leaders in the church. I shared some of my vision and made a point of telling them my one, non-negotiable for leadership at Southview. 

A teachable spirit.

I told them I could and would help them grow and develop in every way I could. I would pour into them, invest in them, and cheer them on. But the one thing I could not teach them was how to have a teachable spirit. You either have one or you don’t. 

I still share that with new leaders. 

I believe a teachable spirit is critical for leadership. Jim Collins, in his work on Level 5 organizational leader, notes that humility is one of the key attributes. Knowing that you don’t know everything is key, and knowing what you don’t know is valuable! 

I often teach leaders that you can learn from ANYONE. Sometimes you learn what to do – and sometimes you learn what NOT to do! Both can be so valuable, but you have to be in a teachable posture to receive the benefit. 

Remaining teachable over time take intentionality. It’s not just going to happen. Often, as leaders gain experience and knowledge, they become less teachable, preferring to share what they know rather than listening to what others have to say. 

Journalist and TV interviewer Larry King once said something I found so valuable that I wrote it down and have kept it since. He said “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. I never learned anything while I was talking.”

That’s intentional teachability. 

Leaders, make a point to be teachable this week. And see what you learn from those who came before you and those around you. The lessons just might be exactly what you need. 

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