Am I Teachable?
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
This week I have been reflecting on being teachable. More specifically, asking myself am I teachable? The quick answer that I came up with is sure, absolutely. I feel that I am still hungry to learn and grow. After reflecting for a while longer, I still had this gnawing feeling inside. Could there be an even deeper level of teachability that I need to get to? Is there something that I might still be missing? As I reflected, I found an answer that I didn’t expect to find, and I found it in some new questions I needed to ask myself.
What things in life did I miss because I wasn’t willing to ask a question? When I was younger, I was often afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want to look stupid. Sadly, without asking the question, I never got the answer, so instead of simply looking stupid, I was stupid. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless someone else in the class asked the question, I never learned.
What things in life do I still not know because I haven’t asked questions? Now that I am older, I still struggle with asking questions from time to time. Not in every situation, but there are clearly times when I hold back with my questions. Why do I hold back? What is keeping me from engaging on a deeper level? The answer I found is pride. Once again, I don’t want to look stupid—shame on me. I’m not as teachable as I thought I was. I am letting what others might think of me get in the way of my own growth.
What will I continue not to know because I won’t ask certain questions? This is where it gets real. If I don’t stop this childish game, I will continue not to know what I could know. I won’t have the tools I need to live a life of significance because I worried about what other people were thinking. I also may have contributed to others not knowing because I didn’t ask the question. It’s time to get over myself and become more teachable.
Teachability is the cornerstone of growth. For us to be teachable, we need to be willing to ask the right questions. Questions that reveal where we are in our leadership journey. Questions that point to areas of improvement that we need to make. 360 Assessments are great tools for this. They allow those around us to be honest and open, offering us critical insights that can catapult our growth. While somewhat painful, my new awareness is liberating. I now look forward to asking the questions that will reveal to all what I don’t know, but also that I am teachable and desiring to grow.
If you would like to hear more about how you can increase our teachability, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 208 of The Next Page Podcast.