What We Can Learn From Teachers About Leadership

July 9, 2018  |  Posted by in Leadership Development

At a recent graduation celebration, a group of us were reminiscing about our all-time favorite teacher and why we liked him/her so much. Later reflecting on the conversation, I considered the consistencies in our experiences and how those dynamics might play out in today’s business world. As you walk through our observations below, consider your favorite teacher and the degree to which these are consistent with your own experience:

Regardless of the subject, they all made their class interesting and fun.

Often, it seems these teachers used unique techniques or activities to reinforce learning and make it more engaging and enjoyable. The result? We not only remember the teacher for being our favorite, we have better recall of the subject matter as well. It surely took more effort on the teacher’s part to deliver our education in such creative fashion, but surely the results were worth it – both in terms of comprehension of the subject matter at hand and cultivating a broader love of learning. What can we as sales leaders do to make our world most interesting and fun?

These teachers liked their students and wanted them to succeed.

In our discussion, our favorite teacher was never just about the classroom experience; it was about our perception that this teacher liked us, built our confidence and made us feel good about ourselves. How would your team members respond if asked whether or not you liked them? Do you consistently build their confidence and make them feel good about themselves?

Favorite teachers like their jobs.

This was not top of mind in our discussion group, but the implication is considerable. Chances are our favorite teachers didn’t announce to their class that they loved their job. More likely, they modeled a love of learning and discovery. Enthusiasm is contagious, and one of the most powerful things we can do as leaders is generate and amplify positive energy.

Students were successful in the subject of their favorite teacher.

It should come as no surprise that motivation + enablement + positive reinforcement = success. This is true in the classroom, in the office and in the field. Were there students who were not successful, even under the guidance of our most beloved teachers? Surely there were. But I bet these favorite teachers got elevated performance across the board from the vast majority of their students. What if we could achieve that impact across our sales teams?

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