You’re off the hook. There’s no time to teach an employee anything anymore. You’ve got your day job and the mandate is clear: deliver the business results or else. Besides, how could you possibly teach anyone something meaningful when your organization swaps talent around almost faster than you can memorize a person’s name? Forget the need to be a teacher.
Not so fast. (You’re not off the hook.)
The idea of “leaders as teachers” is not dead. Far from it. In fact, there’s never been a greater need for all of us to embrace the approach. It is, however, a certain type of teaching that we need.
The idea of leaders as teachers was never going to work with managers thinking they needed to possess wisdom others didn’t have and which they should dispense from the end of the conference room table.
That idea of teaching is old-school.
The best teachers always have been (and likely always will be) the ones who may be an expert within a subject, but more importantly inspire a love of discovery and learning – that transcends the subject they teach.
This approach has never been more important. The expiration date on subject matter expertise used to be measured in decades. You could learn something and have the confidence that such knowledge would be of value for most of your career. Now? Knowledge expires and becomes irrelevant in a handful of years.
Successful companies don’t value what you know. They cherish what you’re going to understand and apply.
The leaders who are teaching aren’t dispensing knowledge as much as they’re inspiring us to discover a brighter future forward. They are teaching us to live and operate with bigger questions that truly matter. They are the leaders that are encouraging us to embrace the nebulous, the uncertainty, the wonder.
It’s never been a more exciting time to be a teacher. Teaching, in the role you’re in, has never been more important.