WHAT MAKES A LEADER? (Part 2)

A LEADER IS A LIFETIME LEARNER


“As long as you live, you learn; as long as you learn, you live.” – Howard Hendricks

Learning is a part of living. There is nothing like the moment of enlightenment when you figure out a process or an idea. Even better is when you see an enlightenment moment happen in a student you are teaching. Yet, learning can be something that is dreaded among students. I think now, more than ever, is an appropriate time to mention the craziness that is the American school system.

Right now in my home state, thousands of teachers are protesting because of the trickery and lack of support that has flowed from Kentucky’s politicians. Children are being raised to dislike education and we have the audacity to wonder why. If we are not willing to take care of our teachers, then we are not willing to take care of the next generation. Teachers are going to help mold the next generation to be creative, productive producers of a better world.

We have all had great teachers and bad teachers. So, what makes great teachers? It is their willingness to grow and their heart for their students. If a teacher cares that I learn what they are teaching, I will then pay better attention. It is the same with leadership. If you care about your vision, then others are more likely to listen. Do not be afraid to show passion for what you are learning and teaching.

“If one-tenth of what you believe is true, then you ought to be ten times as excited as you are.” – Sir Walter Moberly
Vince Lombardi Quote

Something misunderstood about leadership is that leaders have to know all the answers. I would change that statement to something like this: Leadership is about seeking and finding the answers others need.

“Learning is change.” – Howard Hendricks

Every time you gain a new bit of knowledge you gain a new perspective. A new perspective is a powerful tool. In situations where people see despair, you can see hope. In situations where others see walls, you can see bridges. Where others seem lost, you see a guide. Your goal as a leader is to help others see the perspective that they need to see. Light a fire in others to be lifetime learners as well. 

In today’s political world, the term open-minded is not necessarily positive, especially in the south. I believe we are meant to be strong in our faith, but not fear the ideas of others. It is possible to hear opposing arguments and still love those people too. Leaders should be people open to the ideas of others while being aware of their own backgrounds as well as the person proposing the idea. Everyone has a past and that impacts their present. Leaders have to always be aware that other people have a different perspective and that the other perspective is good. If everyone had the same perspective, then we would never be challenged to learn and grow.

A leader is a lifetime learner because leadership is not about the leader.

A leader who leads only for fame and glory will burn out before they get to the true rewards of leadership. Rewards like life-long relationships, a community that can go through anything, and a lasting legacy that impacts generations. When you continually learn and better yourself, then you will be bettering the people you influence.

We are all on the road to the person we want to be.

There are two things necessary to be a lifetime learner:

I.) POSTURE OF HUMILITY

What does humility have to do with learning? Pride is the enemy of progress. A leader filled with pride is limited to what only they can do. Leaders filled with pride usually go to two extremes. The leader who places responsibilities on everyone else because they are too good to do anything or the leader who does everything because anything under perfection is not good enough.

A leader must know their strengths AND their weaknesses. One weakness that every leader has is the limitation of knowledge. Even in today’s world where everything is accessible at your fingertips, you can only know so much. Therefore, an easy learner is better than a stubborn genius.

II.) PASSION FOR PEOPLE

Along with a posture of humility, a passion for people is necessary to be a lifelong learner. People want followers that are real. Craig Groeshel says it like this, “You would rather follow a leader that is always real, over one that is always right.” It is imperative that you long to see the best in yourself and others. I believe this is why Jesus says “love your neighbor as yourself.” You have to love yourself before you can love others.

Learning is a way that leaders can love themselves—which also helps equip them to love others.

If you have a passion for others, then you will do everything in your power to learn because learning grows you, and therefore grows others.

“When the leader gets better, everyone gets better.” – Craig Groeshel

Pray that God would give you a passion to learn and grow others. Pray that he places people in your life to teach. Let your passion for others motivate you to better yourself. 


If you have stopped learning, then you have stopped living. No one has peaked. Your best days are in front of you. There are experiences that need to happen and knowledge to be soaked up. No one ever regrets progress. Leaders are meant to be lifetime learner’s, but it takes humility and passion. Search deep within you and find the spark that past teachers have given you to teach others. Be the person you needed when you were younger.

Next week we will be talking about the topic of influence. I hope this FLIP Leadership series has encouraged, grown, and challenged you to be the leader God made you to be.

Grace and peace.

Nick Settles Initials


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