This message may not be for you. But since it will likely apply to many of the people you deal with today, you should read it anyway…
Have you ever had to deal with that person that only knew one way of doing something: their own? The results you were able to achieve by doing something differently had no bearing on whether or not your idea was acceptable. Have you ever worked around someone that clearly had no weaknesses? I’m sure if you were ever in doubt, you could simply ask them for a quick confirmation that they had none…
I remember listening to an audio lesson from John Maxwell a while back where he shared a story about working with a leadership team of a large organization. During this session, he made a comment about the importance of being open about your weaknesses with your team. At the next break, the organization’s CEO pulled John to the side and told him that he disagreed; that a strong front was absolutely necessary to maintain a position of authority. John simply shared that admitting the weaknesses had nothing to do with letting his followers know he had them; they were already very aware of his weaknesses! It was simply letting them know THAT HE KNEW HE HAD THEM…
In chapter 2 of Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You LEARN, Humility: the Spirit of Learning, John quotes Mark Twain in saying “Always acknowledge a fault frankly. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.”
How many people can you think of that would be completely uncomfortable talking about their weaknesses? Are you one of them? For a long time, I certainly felt like I was supposed to have all the answers; that I was responsible for knowing everything there was to know about each situation I had to deal with. That was painful – probably even more painful for the folks that had to work with me… With time and experience, I’ve seen just how unrealistic that really is. And I’ve realized how much more effective I can be when I’m willing to admit I’m not as smart as I once thought I was.
While this has made work, and life as a whole, more enjoyable, approaching things with an attitude of humility has also given me many opportunities to learn from those around me. John finishes this section of the chapter by saying “Humanity is filled with mistakes. Humility allows us to learn from them.”
Are you open to learning from everyone around you, or are you more like the CEO that didn’t want to admit to having any?
Have a great weekend!