A Light Thinking of Themself As A Student Exhibits True Leadership
“Leadership is an education. And the best leaders think of themselves as the students, not the teachers.
If you have a new idea or perspective to offer and you repeatedly hear, “I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you—I think I know what I’m doing,” RUN! RUN AWAY!”
There is no doubt that each of us will face those we disagree with. No matter our position or level within an organization we need to intently listening to others even if we disagree with them. We can always walk away with more understanding for the “why” in a situation or challenging subject matter and still disagree.
We each have the ability to develop our leadership capacity and we can expand this growth by engaging with others who have different views from our own.
I am still developing mine.
Few days go by that I don’t learn something new.
So am I student or a teacher?
I think I’m both, my hope is that I role model the importance of being a lifelong student no matter my role or position.
Have you ever had that feeling where you feel your heart race and your blood boiling inside? Perhaps it is because you just had something said to you that is offensive about something you firmly disagree with.
In these moments, how do we respond?
Is it from a place of anger, intrigue or curiosity?
What would happen if we acknowledged our anger, stepped back and became curious about why someone believes the way they do?
We can choose to be curious by calling people in who we disagree with to better understand why someone believes what they do.
As we call in those we disagree with, we have to actively listen to why they have a certain opinion, why they believe what they believe. Through this, we learn more about their identities and their lived experience and gain understanding. We may still disagree, however, we leave knowing more about why.
Zachary Wood explains this in much detail in his Ted Talk titled, “Why It’s Worth Listening to People You Disagree With.” Take 11 minutes and 15 seconds for this idea worth spreading
When we feel strongly about something, we may avoid those who disagree with us and who we disagree with. How might we benefit from being comfortable being uncomfortable when facing disagreement? What might others learn by us doing so?
We have to ask ourselves, what am I going to learn today? How will I be intentional about developing myself as someone who exhibits leadership and identifies as a lifelong student?
Get out there and be a student, you don’t always have to be a teacher.