Good Habits #33: Be a Teacher

By | May 13, 2017

[May 13, 2017]  Practical, day-to-day leadership is something that must be practiced and that is why I began this series on good habits several years ago.  At the time, I wrote some good advice and my first was to never assume anything.  It was also the time that I wanted to write that one of the best pieces of advice I could give any leader … and that was to always be a teacher.

Teach them to never make assumptions, to never make excuses, to always be honest and straightforward and they will always be great leaders.  Being a leader is difficult.  One must do all those things required of any employee, soldier, or guardian of our profession but one must also teach.

Once I was asked what I thought was the most important thing to teach young people.  I told my friend, who had asked the question, that good leadership means teaching people to care about others.  Bill Gallagher, a friend of mine for more than four decades and best man at my wedding, argued with me on this point.  He said that it is impossible to teach people about how to have good “character.”

We can teach technical solutions to problems and we can teach certain skills but what we cannot teach, Bill fought me on, was good character.  Good character, he claimed, was the purview of parents and religion.  I disagree.  Not only do I disagree but I believe that it is crucial for the development of good leaders to do exactly that; teach character.

It is of morally necessity to daily teach those things that make people better and at being a good person.  A good person can be trusted to do things with less oversight and generally with less guidance.  A win for leaders who must devote so much of their time dealing with crises after crisis.

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