Solving the Problem of Dumb Leaders

Monkey thinking

Maxwell said, “Leaders are learners.”

The trouble with learning is unlearning.

The trouble with learning is it changes past thinking. Learning amplifies, modifies, or invalidates past learning.

The trouble with learning is rethinking. New thoughts evaluate old thoughts. Learning tests old assumptions, strategies, or methods.

The trouble with learning is being wrong.

All learners inevitably say, “I was wrong when I thought the earth was flat.”

  1. If you can’t be wrong, you can’t learn.
  2. If you can’t learn, you can’t grow.
  3. If you can’t grow, you’re compost.

Those who can’t learn become history lessons for learners. Don’t be like Kodak, for example.

Learning leaders:

  1. Welcome awkward and uncomfortable questions from underlings and outsiders. Insiders seldom put you on the spot. You sign their pay checks and impact their career.
  2. Explore the assumptions of others. Learning leaders assume the assumptions of others. Try getting in the head of someone else and defending their position. You never learn when all you do is defend what you know.
  3. Read every day.
  4. Ask, “What if?” often.
  5. Journal. Record and reflect upon what you learn.
  6. Adapt and change. Name one thing you’ve changed in the last few months. You haven’t learned till you change, regardless of what you know.
  7. Draw out thoughts and ideas from others. How is the idea-flow around you? Is your closed mind closing their mouths?

Bonus: Never fall back on, “When I was young we …”

Next step learning:

“Before you become a leader, success is all about growing you. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Jack Welch

Leadership is about others. The most important thing leaders learn is how to grow others.

What hinders leaders from being learners?

How can leaders grow others?

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