In episode 21 of “Yates in Your Face,” Greg Yates talks about why, innately, we all have a resistance to being taught something new and why we tend to permanently internalize lessons  when we’ve experienced them for ourselves.

In order to lead, you have to impart knowledge, experience, and trial-by-fire wisdom to your team. But, how do you make what you have to say to STICK?

Your team is craving to learn, but they won’t learn anything if they are just being taught what to do. They’ve got to get their hands dirty. They have to be involved in the process, not just the final product.

Great leaders teach by listening; bosses teach by telling.

If you want to build a dynamic team who can problem-solve, be creative, and produce ideas that revolutionize your mission, you’ve got to start asking the right questions and make listening to your team a priority.


After decades of leadership success and failure, I learned something really counterintuitive. As wrong as this sounds, nobody wants to be taught anything. But, everybody wants to learn.

From my youth, I remember the hair on the back of my neck bristling when someone would say, “you’ve got a lot to learn.” I was smart. Everything I did, I was better than most. And I could learn and memorize FAST. It agitated me when someone I was clearly superior to thought they could teach me something. Me! Really?

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn. Of course I wanted to learn, I just didn’t want to be taught.

Have you ever been around someone who was an expert at everything? No matter what you were doing, THEY had the answers. They could do it better. They could teach you.

Nothing is more irritating than golfing with someone who happens to hit a good shot and suddenly they’re an expert. They dole out advice to everyone in the foursome. You’re trying to be polite, but you want to just whack them up the side of the head with your putter.

Why is that? Why do we choose to learn by falling down, making mistakes and by generally denying our failures? Because it is so much more satisfying when we learn through our own action. And, it lasts. Pain is a great teacher.

I argue that we really don’t KNOW anything till we experience it for ourselves. And, yet there are some things you really don’t want to experience…trust me. If you want to know about being in prison, I recommend you read my book…don’t go for yourself. But I also know there is no way you can relate to what I know unless you’ve been successful and you’ve been broken. Why is that? And, what does that mean for you as a business person?

Look around you. Every day you’re telling people what to do as if they are sharing your experiences instead of creating their own. You need both. Somehow, you have to let people learn to experience the personal learning process without realizing you’re teaching them.

If you won’t let people use their own on-board processors, their brains, their experiences to learn, you aren’t teaching anything that will last. Ask questions that produce internal answers. Involve them in the process. Quit lecturing and start listening.

Your team doesn’t want to be taught. But they do want to learn. You must decide if you want to be the hero or if you want a heroic team.

Do you want to be heard or do you want to be surrounded by problem solving learners who have internalized the lessons they never knew you were teaching?

About Greg

Greg Yates has been a Chicago area businessman for over 30 years. He’s the author of the book, "Broken - How Being Broken Unlocked The Greatest Success of My Life". He has simultaneously owned 14 different businesses in a variety of industries; including real estate, manufacturing, payroll, and technology. Greg has also been an investor and a board member. He attended Olivet Nazarene University. He has a passion for flying. He’s had a pilot’s license for over 30 years and owned a variety of airplanes. Greg and his wife Vicki have been married over 37 years. They have a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

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