Research and experience show that the personality of a top sales person exhibits a balance of ego drive (a deep inner need for self-gratification) and empathy (an ability to relate to people and act for their benefit). Likewise, in a good leader, we see a balance between a concern for production and a concern for the people (Management Grid, Blake and Mouton).
I am sure you will agree with me that teachers, corporate trainers and facilitators of learning are definitely leaders. We lead our learners through the most joyous of human journeys – Learning! Like Moses leading the Israelites though the desert to the land flowing with milk and honey!
A leader motivates, envisions, inspires, communicates, cajoles, reprimands… so does a teacher. A leader is driven by his ego. Who among us can deny the thrill of self-gratification when we stand in front of a group and lead them? So, why belittle the ‘sage’ in us?
On the other hand, how much of empathy does trainer need to relate to his flock? Does being a ‘guide by the side’ depend upon the kind of learners, the trainer is dealing with? Or are we just donning the role of ‘guide’ only to mollify the egos of learners? What exactly we mean by ‘facilitating’ learning?
It looks like I am a bit partial to the ‘sage’ approach. Well! I am from the land of the ‘gurus’, where a student speaks of his Parents, his God and his Teacher in the same breath, where students respect their teachers for a lifetime for sharing their invaluable knowledge. It is fascinating to read about the wonderful relationship Indians share with their ‘gurus’ (We even have a Teachers Day – September 5 – to commemorate teachers). Enough of that, though…
Coming back to the question of which is the best approach – ‘sage’ or ‘guide’, should we follow a ‘Situational Approach’ and adopt the appropriate ‘avatar’ depending on the situation and the kind of learners? If so, what are the parameters?
I would welcome my colleagues to respond with their knowledge and experience in addressing this dilemma.
Thank you for reading my blog.