The best leaders aren’t those with ready answers for everything. No, not the know-it-all type. The best leaders are those who learn like a child.
My son Jefferson Carlos is very eager to learn. He explores the world around him. He is very curious about how things work – from remote controls to light switches, iPad to PC, and door keys to car keys. He is simply too eager to learn how to make things work.
The Beginner’s Mindset
Some people are teachable, others are not. I find it easy to teach what I know to those who are open to new things. The hardest people to mentor are who think of themselves as experts. Because they don’t have the time to listen; they only wait for their time to speak.
A beginner’s mindset is the attitude of someone who thirsts for learning. Though they have achieved many things, they welcome new ideas. Because often, a single idea, may change everything we know.
The ignorant are not the uneducated. The ignorant are those who choose to ignore what is evident to defend themselves. You will find these traits among online trolls. They twist facts to advance their agenda.
Leaders listen so they learn. Leaders listen so they can speak with sense.
The Questioning Habit
Jefferson often asks “bakit?’. That’s because he wants to understand.
It takes humility to accept that we don’t know.
Many of our leaders’ miseducation started in school. In school, students are expected to know every teacher’s question.
My teacher told my classmate to “go home and plant kamote” when he failed to give the answer my teacher wanted to hear. He said that my classmate had no chance of becoming a lawyer, so it is best for him to become a farmer instead. My classmate is now a lawyer and a rich farmer.
When I started backyard farming, I learned so many things not only about plants and vegetables. For one, I learned that the sun does not necessarily rise in the east. That somehow, every plant will get the sun it needs.
To become a better farmer, one has to ask a lot of questions too. You can be scientific about it. It is art. And farming taught me a lot about life and leadership. That’s because farming is like leadership too. I will probably talk about this later on this website.
The questioning habit is not difficult to do.
You can create that tiny habit of asking yourself what you can learn from a situation. That tiny habit will make your leadership journey more enjoyable and rewarding. Wherever you are – and whatever you do, ask:
what can I learn from this?
Learn like a child.
Keep your sense of wonder fresh!
I no longer remember every philosophy explained in Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder but I will remember the greatest lesson I got from the book: keep your sense of wonder.
One secret of agile leaders is their sense of wonder. They do not need to have all the information for them to decide and act. And in the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, one who has a sense of wonder thrives.
You will find people who depend on patterns. The absence of a pattern freezes them. When they don’t see patterns, they only see chaos.
But for someone who has a sense of wonder, chaos turns into magic. Chaos provides more opportunities to create new realities.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people died not only because of the virus but because of the arrogance of those who are in power. Some of them died too. They ignored it until it was everywhere. Then, eventually, they said that no one can actually do something about it.
Except for those leaders who won the fight against Covid.
Agile leaders keep their sense of wonder. Yes, they ask Why? They also ask What if?
Learn like a child. Laugh like a child too.
Keep Your Sense of Humor
A child can laugh at many things. Again, because they have a sense of wonder.
I told you that most experts froze when they don’t see patterns. They live in a patterned, predictable world.
A comedian knows the magic of breaking the pattern. A punchline breaks the pattern. And when we connect to the unexpected, we laugh.
To make sense of the world, we study patterns. Studying is about knowing the patterns. On the other hand, the world also has humor. It breaks the pattern.
I challenge you to expect a break in the pattern. One break of a pattern will create a breakthrough in your life.
Continue learning about mindset and attitude. May the following resources satisfy your thirst and encourage you to learn like a child.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset. A growth mindset will help you learn through failures. Your intelligence is not fixed. You can discover new things.
Choose your Attitude and take positive action. It is not your fault to think about negative things. There are too many negative things around us. We cannot ignore them by closing our eyes. And there are also many positive things. We can focus on them.