Everyone Has Something to Teach Us

Everyone Has Something to Teach Us

Don’t let pride keep you from learning and expanding your skill sets. Create a “learning zone” where knowledge is freely shared.

By parking our pride, we will build skills at work and life

I feel bad for those who believe themselves superior to those around them in everything they do, because they’re missing amazing opportunities to grow, not just as a professional but as a human being.

When we’ve worked for a long time to earn a position of leadership, it’s tempting for some to believe they know more than everyone around them — not only about the job they do, but about any topic in general. We all know someone like this. It’s OK to be proud of what we’ve gained, but I and my Theory of 5 mentors believe that pride is a limiting factor that will keep us from learning and expanding our skill sets. We’ve all heard the verse “pride comes before the fall,” and this is a prime example.

Speaking Freely

Let’s say, for example, that we wanted to learn Spanish, which is a great talent to have in many dealerships across the nation. The best way to become fluent in a language — and stay fluent in a language — is to use it conversationally when we can.

Is there a team member who speaks Spanish at your dealership? They could be one of your leaders, a sales associate on your team, or someone who works maintenance at the dealership. If they speak Spanish well and we don’t, we can learn from them. If we both know the language, we can increase our fluency and strengthen our grasp on it.

If the person is a native Spanish speaker, they would probably enjoy the opportunity to speak their mother tongue. If they’re learning like us, we can build up each other’s skills. If they’re already fluent, they will appreciate the opportunity to build up their own vocabulary or just knock the rust off.

Whatever is the case may be, if we are too intimidated to ask a leader, or too proud to admit that someone not at the same level as us on the organization chart might know something we don’t, we’re going to miss a fantastic opportunity to develop skills that will aid us in the dealership and perhaps in our personal life.

Staying Flexible and Up to Date

Another “roadblock” I have observed with some people is admitting that someone younger than us knows something we don’t. Many don’t want to appear “weak” by asking for guidance from someone who might be half their own age (or even younger).

The truth is that, in today’s fast-paced, constantly evolving world of tech, social media, analytics, AI and more, seeking the council of younger people isn’t showing weakness at all — it’s simply asking people who hold valuable information to share it with us so we all can all grow. Life greatly rewards continuous action and growth. Seek those rewards!

If there’s a new piece of tech that’s used in the day-to-day sales, marketing and communication operations at our dealership, it is beneficial to know and understand how it works, even if we don’t use it personally. By knowing the function and capabilities of this new technology, we will see its value, and we can also brainstorm with others about growing our business.

Think about those “old school” sales associates back in the day when email was starting to become more common. Those who refused to use it and stuck solely to the telephone started missing out on customers who were increasingly comfortable with new forms of communication. Today, many customers will refuse to use the telephone unless it’s their friends or family (and even those people know that a text is usually preferred).

It’s too easy to become a dinosaur in today’s world, and being able to incorporate fresh technology and new ideas into our processes keeps our minds active and out of the dreaded “rut” that will cause our skills to stagnate and our numbers to start slipping.

So, we should ask our younger, tech-savvy associates about the latest tools available to us. Even if we know how to use it in a rudimentary way, they probably know better, quicker, more efficient ways to get the most out of the tool.

And, when we hire team members with a growth mindset, they’ll be happy to answer our questions and coach us in much the same way we’ve coached them on other skills. They’ll be proud of their own abilities, making them feel good about their place in our organization, and we’ll gain valuable knowledge and insight. Also, our dealership will be all the stronger for it — a rising tide raises all boats.

Who do you respect more — the person who is constantly on the hunt for new things to learn, or the person who pretends to know things and dismisses new ideas? We all know the answer to this question.

The moment we feel we’re superior to everyone around us in everything we do is the moment we stop growing and, worse, start falling behind. By not developing new skills or exercising the ones we have, we rob ourselves of our potential, and rob those around us of the opportunity to build their own skills by teaching us something they know.

When we’ve surrounded ourselves with the right people, we’ll create a “learning zone” where knowledge is freely shared, and lessons are learned that make the world around us a better place. Let their iron sharpen your iron.

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