David Murray has written that the one characteristic that separates the successful from the unsuccessful in every walk of life is teachability. He states that those who are teachable and remain so usually succeed, while the unteachable usually fail. He goes on to say that it doesn’t matter how much talent and gifting we have. If we are unteachable, we will never reach our full potential in the various facets of our lives – Christian growth, callings, relationships, etc.
My friend Kevin Halloran has written on the characteristics of a teachable spirit. You can read his article here. He states that another word for teachability is humility.
There are many areas of life in which we need a teachable spirit. Here are three of them in the workplace:
- In your performance. Do you get defensive when you receive performance feedback? Do you blame others, instead of taking the feedback in the spirit it was intended and growing from it? Or, as one of my former leaders often said, do you look at feedback as your friend and use it to improve?
- In your development. Do you listen to your mentors on what is needed to help you get to the next level and then take the appropriate action? I recently worked with a very teachable emerging leader. When they didn’t get an interview for a position they had put in for, they demonstrated their teachability. They looked at what experiences and education those who had gotten an interview had and took immediate action to make themselves more competitive. The next time the job was posted, they got an interview. They worked hard on their interviewing skills with their mentors and got a job offer, all due to a teachable spirit.
- As a leader. Have you created an environment with your teams in which they can challenge you, and provide you feedback? As a servant leader, are you willing to learn from those you lead? Or have you created an environment in which your team members do not feel comfortable approaching you? Leaders need to be teachable, and can learn a lot from those they lead. Check out this article from Dave Kraft “Leaders are Teachable”.
Those are just a few areas in our work lives in which we need a teachable spirit. Can you think of others?