Learning is a lifelong pursuit. To effectively lead (and influence) others we must be continually learning and remain teachable.

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” It’s true; we have so much to learn no matter how advanced we may be.

The question for the leader is, “How teachable am I?” We need to continually have “instinctive curiosity.” Every situation, circumstance, engagement has teaching moments — but we be present to notice the opportunity.

For established leaders, we must often overcome one major obstacle — that obstacle is called pride. We must guard against all inflated and eliminate the “I’m superior” mindset. Staying humble and looking for learning opportunities in every situation is key.

John Maxwell summed it up best when he developed his top-10 for what a teachable spirit looks like:

  1. Am I open to other people’s ideas?
  2. Do I listen more than I talk?
  3. Am I open to changing my opinion based on new information?
  4. Do I readily admit when I’m wrong?
  5. Do I observe before acting on a situation?
  6. Do I ask questions?
  7. Am I willing to ask a question that will expose my ignorance?
  8. Am I willing to ask for directions?
  9. Am I open to doing things in a way I haven’t done before?
  10. Do I act defensively when criticized, or do I listen openly for the truth?

German philosopher, Goethe advised, “Never let a day pass without looking at some perfect work of art, hearing some great piece of music, and reading a good book.” Strong words to live by.  Let’s add, “taking an internal look at our teachable spirit” to make sure we’re serving those we lead the best ways we can.