Have you ever met a know-it-all? How did you feel being around this type of person? If you're like me, you probably didn't experience warm, joyful waves flooding your heart as this person talked, talked and then talked some more. A know-it-all is not coachable, not teachable, therefore not promotable.
"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Prov. 28:26).
One of the great principles of master-level leadership—the kind that is productive—is in maintaining a teachable, coachable attitude. This means being a listener and learner more than a chatterbox talker. Jesus himself was a listener (Luke 2:46). When I was a young preacher, an older man once told me, "When you're green, you grow. When you're ripe, you rot." People who see themselves as being mature and well-seasoned often stop learning and subsequently start rotting.
Jesus gave an unusual word in Luke 22:26: "Instead, let him who is greatest among you be as the younger, and he who rules as he who serves." The promise of greatness is given to teachable, coachable individuals.
"The wise in heart will receive commandments, but a prating fool will fall" (Prov. 10:8).
"Poverty and shame will be to him who refuses instruction, but he who regards reproof will be honored" (Prov. 13:18).
"When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise; and when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge" (Prov. 21:11).
Get the picture? Master-level leaders are also master-level learners! They take advice, seek wisdom and are never too big to learn another lesson. They stay green. They remain promotable because they have chosen to be listeners and learners rather than windbags and know-it-alls.
Have you ever met someone who is so boring that you hate to see him come around? He talks about things that absolutely bore you, almost to tears. You feel a weight on your neck and shoulders as he drones on and on. When he does talk about God's Word, it's always about what he is meditating on, his interpretation and what he feels God is speaking to him. He asks no questions and never seeks meaningful advice or counsel. This type can babble on for hours about things that pertain to nothing of which you are interested. The Bible calls him a "prating fool" getting ready to fall flat on his face (Prov. 10:8, 14).
Master-level leaders have cultivated a teachable attitude. But how do you achieve this? One good way is to read great books. Not every reader is a leader, but every leader is a reader. I try to read at least 50 books a year. In my earlier years, I read 100 a year. Every time I pick up and finish another book, I think to myself, "I wish I had read this book 30 years ago!" There is always a fresh revelation. Taking in knowledge should make us humble. Being coachable is a mark of wisdom. Remaining pliable and teachable sets us up for enlargement.
"Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things from Your law" (Ps. 119:18).
Some refuse to learn from anyone. But, if you decide to be unteachable you will have the privilege of learning things the hard way through failure, pain, punishment and embarrassment.
A man came up to me one time at church and said, "Pastor Williams, if I join this church, will I have to submit to your authority?" I responded, "Well, I am the pastor, so in a nutshell, yes." He fired back, "How can that be possible? You're merely a pastor, but I'm an apostle!" I looked him in the eye and said, "I'd prefer you go be a member of some other church." He was unteachable.
I am not saying you must be taught by everyone and everything, though we can certainly learn from the good and the bad. You have to filter the advice you get. Many people want to advise you, but they have no honest expertise in that area. A man told me I should make an investment in something because he had a gut feeling about it. But his personal finances were a wreck! I don't want to be taught by a person who has not been productive and successful in his or her calling or chosen field.
"He said to them, 'Take heed what you hear. The measure you give will be measured for you, and to you who hear will more be given. For to him who has will more be given. And from him who has not will be taken, even what he has'" (Mark 4:24-25).
Listen to godly people of success and fruitfulness, not shoot-from-the-hip types who have no fruit. Choose your mentors and advisers carefully. Learn to be the one who asks good questions of others. Stay green and enjoy the multiplied growth that comes as a result.
"When you're green, you grow; when you're ripe, you rot."
Charisma House has just released Dave's latest book, Hope in the Last Days.
Dr. Dave Williams served for over 30 years as pastor of Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan, with over 500 outreach ministries around the world. Dave led the church in giving over $40,000,000 to world and local missions. His leadership training course, The Art of Pacesetting Leadership, is credited with catapulting one church from 226 to over 4,000. Another church went from 8 to over 1,000. His all-time best-selling book, The New Life: The Start of Something Wonderful, is a practical, step-by-step guide to help new believers become established in their Christian walk and has sold over 2.5 million copies. His latest book, Hope in the Last Days, is published by Charisma House. Dave now focuses on helping young ministers whenever he has an opportunity.
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