Wednesday, April 30, 2014

21st Century Leadership: Fighting the Need to Always Be Right

"True courage comes from moving away from having to be right and checking our ego at the door to see the bigger picture." Mark Adams, Courageous Conflict: Leading with Integrity and Authenticity

In our roles as leaders, how many times do we insist upon having the monopoly on "being right?" There are many who still attempt to practice the "it's-my-way-or-the-highway" leadership style, but in 21st century education it is anachronistic. As a leadership practice, it is fossil of a time when you could expect those "underneath" you to have less knowledge. You could expect that those whom you lead don't have the full picture that you have. That is reversed in a high-tech, twenty-first century world, where those who are "down the organizational chart" actually often know more than you do. In a information-rich, twenty-first century world, leaders can't ever expect to control the knowledge flow. It's simply a transparent, knowledge-flooded world and we, as leaders might as well get used to it.

As Mark Adams indicates, "true courage" is being able to check your ego at the door just so you can see the bigger picture. Being a 21st century leader is being able to accept that you can't possibly know everything, and that perhaps you don't know as much as you thought you did. Courageous leaders today, do check their egos for the sake of getting the bigger picture. Leaders with true courage don't fight to be right; they fight to be open to the possibilities in a world in which they know their own limitations.


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