What every leader should know about teaching


During my recent trip to Africa, one of my responsibilities was teaching national and local church leaders about personal and organizational growth. But it was more than a responsibility; it was a great privilege—and even a passion. When I answered God’s call to ministry I assumed I would be doing some teaching, but I never dreamed that some of my class sessions would be held halfway around the world. That is just one of God’s frequent flyer points.

Leadership and teaching are twin duties. As said in my book, Minute Motivators for Teachers, “A gardener doesn’t raise a crop of roses. He cultivates the flowers one bloom at a time.” Leadership isn’t just about charts and meetings and business plans, it is about influencing lives.

Be transparent.

People are not only affected by your skills; they are influenced by the way you live. The greatest lessons you will ever teach will come from your own experience. Your transparency will be a greater source of inspiration than your facts or theories.

Focus on building people.

Remember that favorite grade school teacher or grad school prof? What made them a favorite? More than likely it wasn’t just their grasp of subject matter; they took a personal interest in you. They believed in you—and made sure you knew it.

Work on technique.

Students are as different as their individual needs. Teach at their level of understanding. Use methods that will motivate them to learn right where they are, and don’t forget to include that humorous quote or story that adds punch to the lesson.

Seize the moment.

There is a window of opportunity when you have a chance to seal the deal. It may come in a conversation after class, or it may be flavored by coffee during a refreshment break. Be alert for that trigger comment or question—and be ready to sacrifice time or energy to apply truth.

Author and classic motivator, Norman Vincent Peale, once said, “We should be in the business of building people up. There are too many people in the demolition business.” I agree. Teach and build—“one bloom at a time.”


You are loved,



Photo: teaching Nazarene leaders in Africa