When I was younger, I felt I knew more than I do today. The older I become in life and leadership, the more I find out I do not know. Can you identify with this?
Beyond the absolute Sovereign will of God and His favor extended to me, I believe there is one characteristic that has helped me to be where I am today: teachability. I can honestly tell you, I have a greater commitment to learning today than ever before in my life.
Academia prepared me with various tools that would help me, but more than anything, it gave to me the rigorous discipline that has been one of my greatest friends in learning, still to this day. Leading people exposes what we do not know about life and leadership. When this happens, we can either lead backward, acting as if we can be taught nothing; or lead forward, growing in Christ daily due to a desire to be teachable in an ongoing manner. Growing teachability is one of the greatest qualities of any forward leader.
So, how do I remain teachable? Through God’s graciousness and a dedication to push myself. I continually listen to people teach. I read things beyond my own academic discipline to grow me. When I encounter a leader—from the youngest leader to the oldest leader—I continually ask them questions.
The older you get, you will discover that being cutting edge has little to do with your look or dress. The only thing that will keep you on the cutting edge is your growing teachability.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz led the U.S. Navy’s war on Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, commanding at one time the largest armada ever assembled. How important was teachability to Admiral Nimitz? “Some of the best advice I’ve had comes from junior officers and enlisted men?”
So, how teachable are you? Are you growing in your teachability, or do you feel you know more than those you spend time with? Each leader has a choice in his or her future. The choice is this: Will I lead people backward, or will I lead forward? Which one?
Today pray for the Holy Spirit to work a teachable spirit into your life.
“Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit. Empower me with Your Spirit today. Lord, compel me to live and lead with a teachable spirit all for your glory. Lord, help me adjust my mindset and my life to how I can best serve You and Your Kingdom.”
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Senior Pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas for 38 years. He is the author of multiple books, including Forward: Seven Distinguishing Marks for Future Leaders.