Leadership Learning: Are We Out to Learn or to Prove?
by Kate Nasser |
The world of science has shown us the value of proving over assuming especially where it impacts human life. Scientific discovery has also shown that learning leads to proving. Consider the accidental discoveries from penicillin to microwaves.
So what does this have to do with leadership? A great deal. How much do we as leaders miss when we are out to prove rather than to discover and learn?
Leadership learning delivers many advantages:
- It opens doors to possibilities we couldn’t possibly foresee
- Leadership learning engages employees’ learning
- It develops the next generation of leaders by combining their talent and our experience for the unknown demands of future business
Proving on the other hand …
- Protects and ensures. Think of child-proof caps, tamper-proof locks, proofing before publishing.
- Sets high standards. Proving grounds are where ideas are tested for accuracy, impact, and strength.
- Gives others a safe zone to consider and accept new ideas. Investors often want a proof of concept before investing in a new idea.
There is value in leadership learning and proving if we find the balance.
We Lose the Balance When:
- Previous experience creates insecurity. Did a bad mentor or previous boss tell you that success was all about proving yourself every day? If you are living this, you may overlook leadership learning and focus mostly on proving.
- Switching work cultures. For example, if you worked in a clinical environment where lack of proof could kill people, you might misapply that standard to a non-clinical environment where lack of learning kills innovation. Learn to balance both learning and proving.
- Fear and perfectionism reign supreme. When fear or perfectionism are in control of a culture or a leaders’ actions, leadership learning, employee engagement, and innovation will suffer. The safe feeling of proving everything however will block dynamic change needed for success.
Finding the Balance Between Leadership Learning & Proving
- Self-awareness. Ask ourselves which side do I naturally embrace — learning or proving?
- Understanding. List out why that’s the preference.
- Feedback. Get examples from those we lead on the negative impact of our preference. Where has too much proving caused trouble? When has leadership learning and not enough proving created trouble? Examples provide help facts triumph over emotion.
- New pathway. In collaboration with those you lead, chart a new path to balance learning and proving.
Demanding proof too early slams the door of discovery shut. Refusing to prove can discredit innovation with the legacy of a just another dumb idea.
Leadership learning opens the door. Proving ensures that what comes through it is not harmful. When we find the balance between learning and proving, we chart a path to success.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
©2017 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email email@example.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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