Know What You Don’t Know

The employee who’s stealing.HeadintheSand
The spouse who’s an alcoholic.
The malignancy that’s growing.

Ignorance is not bliss. What you don’t know CAN hurt you.

Bold leaders develop discernment and discipline to search out the hidden things that could bring down relationships, teams and ultimately, organizations.

One of the first employees I ever hired taught me a memorable lesson about blind spots. I was so thrilled to have help, I was oblivious to the fact that she was rude to my clients and lousy at organizing. She was costing me far more than I realized. It was interesting that it wasn’t until AFTER I let her go that all the stories came out; people didn’t want to be critical or negative. And I failed to ask the important questions.

Rude awakenings are no fun. Being the last to be aware of something you should have been the first to know can be disastrous. A scotoma is an obstruction that keeps you from seeing clearly; it blinds you to what may be obvious to others.

How do you excise blind spots? How do you know what you don’t know? How do you become aware of critical things you might be missing?

Ask questions.
Listen more than you talk.
Pay attention.
Refine your ability to discern.
Get a coach.

Granted, I’m the queen of positive thinking. But to willingly blind myself to painful realities that affect me and my team is nothng short of foolish. Armed with awareness, one can make good decisions and steer away from shoals that can sink a ship.

Discernment is a companion of wisdom. It’s not about mental agility, IQ or head knowledge. Pay attention to “gut feelings”. Cleverness is not wisdom – wisdom is far deeper.

It’s said that the wisest mind always has something new to learn. We have to be alert, vigilant and engaged in a life-long process of growth. Pride comes before the fall. The day we think we know it all is a dangerous day. As we stay open, through the conscious acknowledgement that we don’t have all the answers, we will discover truths that elude the arrogant.

“The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting;
by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking
we may come upon the truth.” ~ Pierre Abelard

Unearthing problems before they gather momentum is a powerful key to leadership. Search for wisdom today. That’s where true treasure is.

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