Top 10 Leadership Blunders - #10:

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Top 10 Leadership Blunders - #10:

Encourager-In-Chief: September 25th, 2019

Pretending you know everything.

Today begins a 10-week series on leadership blunders. If some of them seem familiar to you, don’t be traumatized. I’ve rarely met a new leader that didn’t make most of them—if not all of them (yours truly included).

Years ago, one of my client contacts left his job to accept a sales manager position at a printing company. Not long after he got there, he was let go. He went to another printing company and also lost that job. In fact, he lost both jobs within nine months.

As it happened, I was coaching his wife and one day she said he had confided in her that he didn’t know what he was doing, but he was afraid to ask for help because he thought he was supposed to know everything. I said to her that ironically the president from the first company to let him go and the general manager for the second company that let him go sat in this very room and said to me, “if he doesn’t know what he’s doing, why doesn’t he just ask for help?” (I’m not making this stuff up!)

The reality is, nobody knows everything. This is especially true when we move into a new position. The first time I was promoted to a leadership role, I went into my office and closed the door. My mentor who had promoted me came in and asked me why I had my door closed because it looked like I was sealing myself off from the people I served. I was coming across as unapproachable and inaccessible. The truth was I was scared to death of making mistakes because I didn’t know what I was doing.

I have good news for you if you find yourself in the same boat: The people you serve already know that you don’t know what you’re doing! Don’t hide from them. Instead, respectfully ask them for their help and input. Ask them about things they know more about than you do. They will respect you and be much more willing to help you find your way. It’s much easier to lead when the people you serve want you in that role. Ask any fired professional sports coach.

If no one’s ever told you this yet in your career, let me be the first: if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s okay to ask for help. You can even ask your boss. He or she will already be expecting you to be relieved to know that you’re not so prideful as to think you know everything.

None of us is as smart as all of us.
- Ken Blanchard

This excerpt is taken from my Become a Leader Worth Following seminar.

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I encourage you to order my Become a Leader Worth Following audio program, which also covers this lesson in much greater detail.

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