Today’s Word: Four Lessons Leaders Can Learn “Glean”

“What can we glean from this?”

Have you heard this question or prompt?

Gleaning as much as I can…has always translated to “learning” as much as I can. Gleaning from the leaders and people around me.

I recently heard someone talking about this word and dug a little deeper into understanding it.

Several definitions of glean include “to extract information from various sources” and “to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.”

Another definition is to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers.

This all seemed to fit into my understanding and use of the word. So, no real surprises there.

Two things did surprise me though.

Gleaning also dates back to Leviticus in the Bible…but there was no mention of this in any of the online dictionaries I searched.

Going way back in history…Leviticus law prohibited harvesters from going back over their fields to collect missed grain or fruit. They were required by law to leave the leftovers for the poor and strangers.

The act of gleaning wasn’t necessarily charity though. Since the law allowed for gleaning, the reward was earned through working the fields and collecting the gleanings for your family.

Leaders can learn several lessons through the idea of gleaning:
  1. Glean from other leaders and people around you. We glean the most when we work right behind the harvest. When we are close to the action. The fruit is the ripest, the harvest is most bountiful, and the work is less laborious.
  2. Leave plenty of the “good stuff” for those around you to glean. We have a responsibility, as leaders, to consider the gleaners in everything we do. We should always prepare gleanings as we lead, teach, produce, and prosper.
  3. Create opportunities for people to glean from you. Gleaning doesn’t always have to be charity. We can freely give but we can also provide for exchange. Do it because you CAN and because you SHOULD.
  4. Do your part to improve the world around you. We shouldn’t have to be compelled by rules, laws, or social pressure to help those around us. We should want to do our part to help the poor and strangers among us.

Whether you are focused on leadership development or trying to build a legacy, I hope these lessons can help you.

Add it to your language.

Consider the gleaners.

Be a gleaner.

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