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As a Leader — Why I Love to Teach!

March 5, 2019

As a Global Vice President at a major financial institution, I spend two days a week teaching Product Ownership, Agile Leadership, Scrum, and Kanban to 25 employees per week. As a Professional Scrum Trainer, I’ve taught over 1500 people through the years. This experience has made me a better leader.

When you teach, you have the opportunity to explain concepts in a variety of ways to different people, in order to connect with them. It forces you to learn the concepts in a hyper-detailed way, so that you can explain it through multiple lenses. A single session of a class can include testers, developers, designers, product managers, scrum masters, project managers, or even executive leaders. These people have diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and levels, and they all connect to the material that I cover in different ways.

One huge benefit to me is is I get to learn from them. They share what they are struggling with, as they are implementing agile. They share what they tried that worked. They share what they tried that failed. When I learn, I grow. Growth is a must in an ever-changing world.

I use my decades of experience in leading organizational change to share examples of successful strategies. I also share my biggest mistakes and what I’ve learned from them. Knowing that mistakes are the path to success gives my students the confidence they need to be agents of change, themselves.

As a leader, we always have the pressure to scale. Scale our capacity. Scale our productivity. Scale our delivery. The best thing we can scale for the biggest impact is sharing our knowledge, gained through experience. That sharing of knowledge helps us create exponential scaling where 1 + 1 =3.

There is no better way to create a learning organization than by actively participating in teaching and learning. Learning organizations are the only ones that will survive in our complex and ever-changing world of technology and customers. The only way to stay ahead of the competition is by out-learning them. Just to be clear, when I say learning — I also mean applying that learning.

I would like to leave you with 3 things:

  1. Look for opportunities to teach. To teach, you need to learn the subject in great detail, to be able to explain to multiple audiences. To teach well is the power of connecting with people.
  2. Spend time learning. Spend time learning from people all around you. Learn from the people you serve and support.
  3. Look for opportunities to learn something you have to absolutely struggle with. Struggling helps develop empathy for people you are serving as they grow. You can better connect with them if you know the frustration with struggling with something you do not understand.

Every keystroke is precious so I will end here.

Watch my video below.

Lead how you would like to be led.


Twitter: @DDame

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