The power of Ignorance

According to the free dictionary, stupid people make poor decisions and careless mistakes. On the other hand, ignorant people are unaware or uninformed. You’ll need these two definitions to understand what follows.

Careless mistakes and poor decisions (stupidity) are made by the uninformed (ignorant).

Ignorance leads to stupidity.

If you assume you are ignorant you won’t be stupid.

Last Friday a young leader asked for advice. As they began talking, I began assuming I knew the situation. However, I’ve learned that ignorance results in stupid advice so I kept asking questions and restating their replies. Four questions later I was thankful I didn’t go with my first impression because the information I gathered changed the recommendations I made. Assuming my own ignorance protected me from stupidity.

Anger is a symptom of ignorance.

Have you blown up only to discover your anger was based on partial or misinformation? You acted in ignorance and apologized later. Stated bluntly, ignorance made you stupid.

Three steps to solving ignorance.

#1 – Assume you are ignorant.

#2 – Embrace your ignorance by withholding judgment.

#3 – Ask the best questions.

The best questions are the ones you
think you’ve already answered.

Embracing ignorance protects leaders from stupidity.

*****

Can you offer other symptoms of ignorance? What techniques can you add that help solve ignorance.

*****

Leadership Freak

Dan Rockwell

You can receive Leadership Freak in your email. It’s free.  It’s private.  Click on the banner at the top of this page, look in the right-hand navigation bar, enter your email and click subscribe.  Your email address is always kept private.  Note:  if it doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter for a confirmation email.

Image source