The best leaders are great teachers: they personalize instruction to help their employees soar (Managing Yourself)
What sets exceptional business leaders apart? One thing, says Sydney Finkelstein, is their ongoing commitment to giving direct reports one-on-one instruction. Finkelstein, a management professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, has studied world-class leaders for more than a decade. He's found that they make a point of personally imparting memorable lessons that fall into three categories: pointers on professionalism, technical knowledge and skills, and broader life lessons. Finkelstein notes that when and where top leaders teach is almost as important as what they teach. Instead of waiting for formal reviews, great managers stay accessible to their employees and share their wisdom as opportune moments arise, whether that's in the office or outside it. They also create teaching moments--often by taking protégés off-site. How do they make lessons stick? Their techniques include (1) customizing instruction to the needs, personality, and development path of each individual, (2) asking pertinent questions to deepen learning, and (3) modeling the behavior they want others to practice. Finkelstein discusses numerous superstar leaders who are revered as great teachers and suggests that if you follow their example, you can strengthen your staff and drive superior business performance.