Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Part 2

Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader and leadership

As leaders, are we smarter than a 5th grader?

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?  A game show produced by the Fox network in which adult contestants attempt to answer questions that are found in the textbooks of elementary age students (1st–5th grade).  The game show has a humorous approach as adults realize that they are usually “not” smarter than a 5th grader.

In leadership this idea can be humorously approached as well.  Are we smarter than a 5th grader?  Do we find ourselves making foolish mistakes and unwise choices that shouldn’t be made?  Do we not understand basic principles that all leaders should know?  Like the adults in the game show, are we realizing that we have forgotten some “Leadership Basics?”

In our last article we discovered that if you are smarter than a 5th grader you will:

Focus on more than yourself
Praise publicly and reprimand privately
Be clear about the process and purpose of your organization

Here are some more leadership basics that will help you to be smarter than a 5th grader:

1)  Leaders never stop learning
As individuals our learning curve comes to a stop or at least to a very slow crawl when we stop attending high school or college.  This is a big mistake if you are a leader.  Leaders should never stop learning.  You must continue to learn and grow from every resource possible.  I am continually “discouraged” as a motivational speaker and life coach to discover that many leaders have not made it a priority to continue their leadership development.  How can you stay on the cutting edge and expect your organization to grow, if you don’t grow yourself?

2)  Leaders are strategic about the future, not just reactive
Most leaders make the mistake of becoming more reactive than strategic.  They enter their day or week reacting to the problems and situations that come their way.  Although this is part of being a leader, it is not the only part.  A leader must also be strategic.  They must lead by being strategic in their thinking and planning.  True leadership sets the course!  Ask yourself, “do I know where the organization is headed in the next 2-5 years?”  Then ask yourself, “do I know what kind of resources and staff I will need?”

3)   Leaders work hard at connecting
John C. Maxwell writes in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, “a leader touches a heart before they ask for a hand.”  In other words a true leader realizes the value of connecting with people.  If leadership is influence, than the only way to gain influence is to connect with people.  As a leader you have to be smart enough to know that people are your greatest asset and that connecting with them is how you gain influence and build your team.  Love on people, encourage people, lift people, seek the best for them, make them better than they are and you will begin to earn a voice  in their life and connect with them at a much deeper level.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


“You have achieved excellence as a leader when people will follow
you everywhere if only out of curiosity.”
– Colin Powell


About Chris Sonksen

Chris Sonksen is the founder and Lead Pastor of South Hills Church and has an exceptional ability to inspire both secular and non-secular audiences. Under his leadership, South Hills has experienced phenomenal growth and in just a few short years has grown from a handful of people to nearly 3000 in attendance today. Today South Hills has become a thriving, multi-service and multi-site church. Chris has a magnetic, captivating and humorous style for motivating and inspiring all audiences. As a motivational speaker, he has spoken both nationally and internationally in companies such as Verizon, Securitas and Home Depot, and there is no doubt that by applying his teachings, his audience will improve the quality of their lives! Chris is the author of two books In Search of Higher Ground and Handshake. Chris is the founder of Celera Church Strategy Group an organization with an unwavering commitment to excellence in all things, with the goal to “raise the national average of church attendance,” by equipping church leaders with resources and coaching. Chris brings high-energy focus and a passion for vision and leadership to encourage and equip the local Church. Chris is a native Californian, born in Long Beach and currently resides in Corona with his wife, Laura and their two children, Grace and Aidan.

Posted on January 26, 2010, in choices, Habits, Leadership, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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