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Leading is teaching



March 7, 2022


Your job is to make yourself replaceable.


That’s a big idea, so sit with it for a moment.



Did you take it to heart? Did you check your ego? Are you willing to be replaceable or not? Ready to find out why this should be one of your goals?


Too often leaders like the feeling of being needed and the only one that’s capable of performing a function. A good leader will put aside their ego and teach their subordinates the ins and outs of their job.


You might ask, “If I teach my people to do my job then what’ll I do?” The short answer is--you’ll still do your job. And the long answer is—if you’re unexpectedly unavailable or have moved to a new position someone else can step up into your shoes without a big hiccup.


You might say, “There are some things that only I can do, for example, we have this longtime client who’s accounts are set up differently than all of the others and it’s too complicated to explain that to anyone.”


The answer? Simplify.


Simplify everything about your job if you don’t think you could teach it to someone else—otherwise it’s too complicated. In that above scenario, you might solve this issue by onboarding this grandfathered client to your new system over a period of time.


Or maybe you’re a heavy equipment operator and let’s say your bulldozer has been limping along so long that you’ve modified and customized every level and button so no one but you can operate it. It’s probably time to get a new machine that other operators can run.


Simplify, simplify, simplify.


Good leaders train and teach those under them. This could be one person (and probably is) or it could be multiple people. Every job is simple when you break down the big picture into individual steps. If you believe there are things only you can do, simplify it so someone else can do it if the need arises. Humble yourself and keep in mind that leading is teaching.


. . .


Eli Custer lives and works at Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA. For over 6 years he’s had leadership roles varying from sports team captain to 4-H, church youth group, and his current job at the farm as a Polyface apprentice. He’s passionate about helping people gain new skills through teaching and leading.

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