Business team in marketing training

I remember hiring a man several years ago that I was very excited about. He came with an impressive resume. He had more education than I did and from his interview I could tell he was very intelligent. This guy seemed to have “the right stuff."

Not long after hiring him though I started to notice some things. Other team members weren’t really embracing him. He didn’t listen well during his training. He seemed impatient.

I was frustrated. Someone with a great education and a powerful resume should be excelling. What was the problem?

One of my team members gave me her opinion of what wasn’t working. She said, “He is not teachable."

Apparently this new employee wouldn’t listen to anyone, thought himself better than his peers and gave off an arrogant vibe. Upon gaining this new insight, everything made sense, and unfortunately after a brief period of employment, I ended up letting him go.

When we look for talent we often look for specific skills or abilities that can be written on a job application or a resume. The one all of us need most is almost never listed or even mentioned. It is:


The willingness to learn covers a multitude of weaknesses. Someone who is eager to improve himself or herself before attempting to improve everyone and everything else will eventually surpass the know- it- all.

Sadly, the gentleman I hired is still searching for his place and has worked several jobs since he left us. If he learns to humble himself and listen he can accomplish great things because of his other abilities. That is my hope for him.

Growing in this is possible. Here are three tips to develop a more teachable spirit:

  • Ask questions.

Learn by asking. It seems so simple yet we neglect to ask. Perhaps people think it is a sign of weakness to share that they don’t know something. It actually is a strength. Don’t be afraid to ask.

  • Listen.

Soak in information. We can’t absorb what we don’t hear so make sure to focus during training or when feedback is given. Great listening is also much appreciated by the teacher.

  • Practice humility.

No one knows everything and everyone fails sometimes. Once we admit that to ourselves we free up our minds to receive. Unhealthy pride will block necessary learning.

How about you? Are you eager to learn? Do you seek to learn from others no matter what their position or tenure?

Tell us what you are learning and have a great week!