Here it is: You are not always right. In fact, you are probably often wrong. You might even be hopelessly self-deceived.
How did you feel when you read that? Did you immediately bristle with offense, or frown with skepticism? Did you defenses go up? If so – we have a long way to go in leadership development.
I don’t want to hear your defense. I am not interested in stories about how smart you are, or how you rose to leadership by being good at what you do.
If you believe you are always or even mostly right, I can tell you that servant leadership is a long, long way away.
For the belief that that answer lies outside us is what drives us to listen. It’s what drives us to collaborate. It’s what drives us to seek the expertise and voice of others. It’s the engine of our desire to learn and to help others learn. It is the energy behind our search for the truth in our leadership and decision-making.
It the root of humility and a servant attitude.
The truth is many of us have work to do here. Admitting that we are often wrong or incomplete in our thoughts or decisions is not the kind of thing that comes easily or quickly or feels natural.
So starting at your very next meeting/conversation/event, tell yourself this one thing: I do not have all the answers.
You may be surprised how quickly it transforms your leadership and effectiveness.
- The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives (Eric Jackson, forbes.com)
- Why Isn’t ‘Servant Leadership’ More Prevalent? (competencydevelopment.wordpress.com)