Rusty Foerger is one of my mentors, I value his guest blog today.

There is a proverb in the ancient book of Ecclesiastes that goes:

“Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed warning.”

Here is a clear contrast between one who is poor to the one who is a king.  Or I might put it: the contrast is between a person with limited influence to a person with a lot of leadership authority. It is better, goes the proverb, to be poor but wise. This is distinguished from someone who has more authority, but who is foolish by virtue of no long knowing how to heed warning. 

This difference reveals what it means to be a wise leader – that is to say – the core of what it means to be wise means to be teachable: the ability to heed warning, to take correction, or to value the wisdom of others.

This difference exposes your need as a leader to be humble enough to know you don’t know it all.  It speaks to the awareness that you need people wise enough around you to question, warn, or otherwise offer different perspectives on your leadership.

Think about the times you’ve offered your insights to a person in a senior position, or to your pastor, or the times you sensed your input would not be welcomed. What did that do to your motivation, and how did that result in any decision?

Now think about the times someone tried to suggest a different point of view to you.  What was your reaction? How did you take it, or what did you think of the person who offered it? Believe it or not, you’re in a good position if you have people who can question your thinking while at the same time being committed to the same goals of your organization as you.  

You’re in a better position if you know how to listen to others and be teachable. This is what Leadership Is: being wise enough to be teachable.

Today’s guest blogger, R.H. (Rusty) Foerger is a retired senior officer of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services. He continues to mentor, teach, and be engaged in the lives of men in his church. Check out his blogs at and

Leadership is … being wise enough to be teachable.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach