Admitting what you don’t know is key to effective leadership - Deepstash

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Outdated leadership ideas still persist

Outdated leadership ideas still persist

 Leaders are often imagined to always be in control and an expert in almost everything.  They are idealised by the media, educational system and social media.

Since infallibility is not possible, it makes sense that we resist admitting mistakes and are ready to protect an image of ourselves.

This idea of leadership is bad for leaders and businesses as it limits an organisation's ability to be successful.


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Focus on questions, not answers

The likelihood of having perfect answers or solutions to all the challenges we face is very low. Leaders who strive to have all the answers will prevent team creativity and stay stuck in outdated thinking models.

Inquiry-driven leadership is one method of dealing with uncertainty. Ask questions that are productive such as "what" and "how" to help frame problems and move toward positive outcomes.


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Own mistakes publicly

Own mistakes publicly

Being vulnerable and authentic as a leader means admitting errors instead of sweeping them aside to protect your image. But putting on a show actively discredits them.

Instead, declare the mistake as soon as possible to everyone involved. While it can be challenging, state the nature of the error succinctly and apologize if relevant. Then, spend your time finding the cause of the mistake.


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Embrace smart failures

Failure can be a great learning experience. The key is to make "smart" failures by fostering two conditions among the team.

  1. Crean an environment of psychological safety. The team should know that smart risks that end in below-average outcomes won't hurt them. Publicly applaud the effort and focus on the learning and growth phase of the loss.
  2. Leaders must conduct after-action reviews focused on learning from any major project or initiative.


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