Remember the book written by a person who said that everything he needed to learn he learned in kindergarten? Well, he was right! Why? Because every teacher is a leader in his or her own right. And so, to become a good leader, you have to know how to be a good teacher.
Here are the tips to becoming a true leader through the mind of a teacher:
- Learn first what you need to teach or pass on to your people
No teacher can give something he or she does not have. It is a basic law of Nature and life. A tree cannot give fruits unless it makes them. And the tree, in turn, cannot give unless the soil gives the necessary nutrients the tree needs. At the same time, the soil will not give anything unless it got its nutrients from animals and from rocks and rivers that provide minerals. All of Nature and life works because someone or something gave first.
What does a leader give to those under him or her? Find them out and then give them.
- Teaching is more fun for students when the teacher is also having fun
We all hated terror teachers and avoided them like the plague. In fact, we had nightmares because of them. So with managers or bosses who terrorize employees. If you want to be an effective leader, be a friend first and make people comfortable with your presence and your personality. Everybody loves a winner. Ad if you can win the friendship of people, you can gain their confidence and their trust. And people love to work with someone who takes everything in stride – that is, when the going gets tough, you would want the leader to be around to guide you. It was always comforting to have a teacher who could answer your questions, whether stupid questions or clever ones.
- A firm teacher need not be a feared teacher
This is related to the previous one; however, it has the added idea of making people realize that at times the leader has to set the bar high on certain issues – such as breaking office policies or rules that could lead to the disruption of organizational or social harmony. When moral issues arise, in particular, the leader who imposes rigid compliance to integrity or decency will have a better chance of instilling discipline and stability to the ship than one who wavers or dilly-dallies.
We always loved our teachers in elementary school who were firm but loving and strict but kind to us all in spite of our misbehavior. A true leader knows when to be flexible and when to expect compliance.
- Tests are meant to be difficult; make them serve their purpose
Written tests end in school, although office seminars at times still utilize them. Nevertheless, tests, in general, will always be the best tool for evaluating the performance of workers. Sales personnel are tested according to their ability to produce by in terms of volume of sales. It is a numbers game, after all. But more than that, even sales people also have to promote not just a product but the values of a company. A top sales person may leave a company; but the goodwill he or she may have developed in favor of the company will remain. Loyal clients will want to patronize your products because one of your own people made a good pitch for the company’s products.
In college, we knew who were the most-preferred teachers to enroll under. Not just those who gave high grades but those who taught well and left you happy you studied under him or her. How many people have you heard who said they were proud to be students of the best professor in a certain university? How many old soldiers were proud to have served under General Patton?
- Finally, teachers are the best role-models for successful living
Even when we grow old, we still remember and pay respect to our truly noble teachers in our school years. They helped to guide us all the way to our adulthood. In the same sense, leaders are our surrogate-parents in the path to a successful professional life as well as a secure retirement period. The true leader desires the success for his or her people in and out of the work environment. For the company does not exist apart from the overall environment it serves and works within.
The effective leader, therefore, is as much concerned with sales output or prompt delivery of products as he or she is with happy and secure personnel who have successful families and well-behaved children.
In the end, teachers have served unending lines of generations from the beginning of time until now because they themselves are the first and best leaders we have. If you have never taught a class before but have people under you who depend on your leadership abilities, consider yourself a teacher, first and foremost.
Meir Ezra and his company, Guaranteed Prosperity, conduct seminars to train people to become effective leaders. Check out their website today.