On Career Development: The Ability to Teach



Effective teaching is the very essence of leadership.

~ Gordon B. Hinckley

The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.

~ William Arthur Ward

The ability to teach is the sixth and final FACE IT* leadership attribute.  If you think about the leaders you admire most or have influenced your life the most, I suspect that they were all great teachers in one way or another.  They could have been your athletic coach, or an actual teacher in high school, or possibly your father or grandfather.  In my experience, the people who inspire people to follow are gifted teachers.

My definition of leadership, the definition of axiom leadership specifically, is “to teach and exemplify values, principles, and truths so clearly that it inspires change, choice and action.” Leadership is about inspiring people.  William Arthur Ward is talking about teachers above.  Substitute the word “leader” or “executive” and the lesson is the same.  A great leader inspires.  Inspired people do things out of the ordinary.  Inspired people change the world.  If you can inspire, you can change the world.

The ability to inspire can be learned by improving your ability to teach.  I have the opportunity to teach and speak publicly in my profession as well as in my community through my church service.  I have taken classes that have helped me improve and understand teaching theory and methods.   I recommend you look for opportunities to learn public speaking and teaching.  You local Toastmasters group would be a good place to start.  A book that influenced my own teaching, especially in my church service, is Teach Ye Diligently by Boyd K. Packer.  I consider Mr. Packer to be a master teacher and recommend his book.

The essence of leadership is effective teaching.  To be an effective teacher you must know your message.  The message you share should be based on values, principles and truths so you connect to the heart of what people believe.  When you connect to people’s beliefs, you get more than just their hands and feet to work for you; you get their hearts and minds.  When hearts and minds are engaged, greatness is the result.

Become a master teacher.  Study the great teachers and speakers.  Learn what they know and then practice every chance you get.  As you do so, you will accelerate your development as a leader and your career.


FACE IT leadership attributes to accelerate your career are Focused, Accountable, Customer-Centric, Executes, Innovative, and Teacher



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