Leaders are Learners
There are four passions in life that I truly enjoy. These are disciple-making/mentoring, leading, speaking, and writing.
I joined a campus ministry team on January 2008. I’m fortunate to be appointed as one of its leaders. In the same month, I had my first speaking engagement, conducting a devotional talk to a group of college students. Since then, I was given a lot more opportunities to lead the team and to speak to the youth. When I have free time, I write articles and post them online. I’ve been writing for more than a year now.
Despite my two years involvement in the campus ministry and soon-to-be two years commitment in disciple-making, I still feel the need to improve my skills. In other words, I want to learn more. That’s why when I am given an opportunity to learn, I immediately grab it. I attend leadership seminars. I solicit counsel from different mentors. I listen to live or recorded sermons and talks. I read books and blogs.
In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell wrote:
“In a study of ninety top leaders from a variety of fields, leadership experts Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus made a discovery about the relationship between growth and leadership: “It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from the followers.” Successful leaders are learners. And the learning process is ongoing, a result of self-discipline and perseverance. The goal each day must be to get a little better, to build on the previous day’s progress”1.
An Example from the Bible
One of the Bible characters I admire is Apollos (See Acts 18:24-28). He was educated with the Scriptures (Acts 18:24b), and was a great speaker and teacher (v.25a). But his knowledge was inadequate (v.25b). So when Priscilla and Aquila, the couple who were travelling companions and co-ministers of Paul, heard about him, they invited him to train him more (v.26b).
I admire the humility and teachable heart of Apollos. He was learned and was speaking well already. He could’ve been proud and refused to couple’s invitation. Yet, he accepted it.
The result? He was of great help to the believers (v.27b) and he became a better speaker and an apologist (a person defending the faith) (v.28).
So leaders, I’m appealing to you to continually learn and improve. Let us be like Apollos, hungry to learn more. Always remember that a leader’s effectiveness is greatly affected by his willingness to learn.
Never stop learning!
1John Maxwell—John Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Inc., 1998), 23-24.