I used to feel that I had to have all the answers.
In positions of responsibility and power, I thought if I demonstrated “not knowing” that I would be weak, or appear stupid or incompetent. Unfortunately, some of my bosses also reinforced this so it took awhile for me to unpack this particular set of baggage.
As I unpacked I realized numerous things.
It is impossible to know everything, and both egotistical and disrespectful to think you can.
Knowing everything sucks all of the air out of a room and doesn’t allow for other people’s knowing.
Knowing everything leaves lots of rooms for error because really, you don’t know everything!
As I grew as a leader, I realized that I had to relinquish knowing everything in order to be effective. I also realized that it is actually way easier when I didn’t have to be the one bringing forth all of the suggestions!
Soliciting ideas and opinions from those around me made my life alot easier and it led to them feeling more engaged.
And all of that that led me to recognize that other people grew when I made space for them to grow. And that growing together strengthened the whole team and that everybody was more effective. Yay!
The other day I came across the “21 Unmistakable Traits of a Heart-centered Leader.” The whole list made me cheer and smile and re-affirmed all that I had learned while growing into my skills.
Three in particular popped to the top:
- You are able to relinquish control. As leaders, we don’t really have it anyway. Our associates do. If you think that’s not true, try getting anything done without them.
You develop strategies that involve, promote, call upon, and inspire associates to participate fully in creating, renewing, or revitalizing the organization.
You are not afraid to admit your mistakes.
These three key points are vital to successful collaboration, team work and increasing engagement. The other 18 are pretty juicy too!
Recognizing that you don’t know everything is a powerful step on the road to becoming an effective leader. If you know enough to know you don’t know it all, then you are opening to the opportunity to look for more ways to tap into the wisdom all around you. Need help stepping into “not knowing?” Give me a call -I can help!