To Be a Great Leader Requires You to Be Wrong

Have you worked for a boss that had all the answers and didn’t need new ideas or recommendations? In your humble opinion, was he/she really that smart? Would the department, project or organization have benefited from a boss that was not a “know it all”?

As you start to add leadership to your job description, remember the “know it all” boss. We’ve all had one of these. Consider it a gift because we all have a great model for what NOT to do. But I also know the tendency to feel like you should know it all is hard to resist. You have just been promoted to supervisor or manager because you knew what you were doing and you did it with some expertise. We start with the assumption that the boss should know all the answers. So we try to “fake it til we make it”.

First, no one person has all the answers, period. Acknowledge this reality and embrace it. The best bosses I’ve worked for used the aggregate knowledge, skill and experience of the team to make decisions or set direction. Their experience and judgement become critical when there was division or indecision in the team. The leader needs to sometimes arbitrate these disagreements and at times make the decision but only after hearing all voices of the project stakeholders.

Second, just because you use the aggregate knowledge,skill and experience doesn’t take the leader off the hook.if something goes wrong and bad decisions are made, the leader owns the fail. Blaming failure on others is not a leadership attribute.

Third, when success happens, the leader stands back, applauds the team and basks in their reflected glow.

Leaders always own the failures and are generous with the successes…

Does your organization have a leadership culture that focuses on developing people and coaches that create cultures for expert execution? If you see opportunity to improve your leadership culture, let me know, I can help – rjones0747@gmail.com.

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