Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Published: April 1, 2019

Teachers seek students. Students seek teachers. There is a natural synergy in the teaching-learning relationship. The traits that describe the best teacher and the best student are similar: open mindedness, willingness to challenge, hunger for growth and solid preparation to name a few. Take a look at the best mentors, coaches, professors, advisors and counselors in your life. What do they have in common? Consider these qualities when building your team.

The most impactful mentors, coaches, professors, advisors and counselors share a similar profile:

  • They are able to connect and build trust.
  • They stretch your thinking to the edge of discomfort.
  • They set high expectations.
  • They have a vision for your growth.
  • They adapt their teaching style to your learning style.
  • They stand by your side during adversity.
  • They celebrate your victories.
  • They are committed to continuous improvement.
  • They are willing to be vulnerable.
  • They do their homework.
  • They can see all perspectives and can argue both sides of a debate.
  • They share resources generously.
  • They are patient when you are stuck.
  • They shepherd rather than engineer your path.
  • They help you find solutions rather than providing answers.
  • They are attentive to your themes and patterns.
  • They care about you personally and professionally.
  • They create goodwill in every interaction.
  • They are humble.

Team leadership evolves. Learning and development are the fuel of succession planning. Building your bench strength begins with an intentional decision to invest time and resources in others. Tomorrow’s leaders surround themselves with the best teachers. Today’s leaders attract the best students and pour into them. Who are your teachers? Who are your students?

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.