Three Qualities Traditional Leaders Reject

tree stump

Image source by Petr Kratochvil

Regurgitating and recycling what you already know bores others, antiquates leadership, and destroys organizations.

Get out of yourself before you shrivel and die.

Growth, innovation, and future-building centers on what you don’t know and haven’t done.

Three surprising qualities of growing leaders:

#1. Receptivity:

Traditional leaders are unwelcoming. Traditional leaders expect you to receive their ideas; they don’t receive yours. Power, prestige, and position thrive in unreceptive, threatening environments.

Tell-me-more leaders, go further than,
I-already-know leaders.

Stop looking down your nose at outsiders, front line employees, and new hires. Adapt to them; don’t force them to adapt to you.

Growth lies around and outside.

#2. Withholding judgment:

Traditional leaders make judgments; growing leaders withhold judgment.

Judgment crushes baby ideas.

Quick minded decision makers inadvertently destroy growth. Stow what you think you know in the attic. Judgment ends growth and begins stagnation.

Keep in mind, stability requires decision making. Withhold judgment, don’t end it completely.

#3. Curiosity:

Traditional leaders fear looking foolish. They need to know. Curiosity celebrates what isn’t known. Courageously look foolish.

Emptiness is opportunity.

The downside of curiosity:

  1. People want to know what you know as well as what you don’t.
  2. Questions feel pushy and threatening when filled with expectation.
  3. Constant curiosity spirals inward and downward.
  4. Creating options causes confusion.

Curiosity is a means not an end. Use curiosity to challenge stagnant ideas and disrupt antiquated systems.

Most importantly, curiosity unearths new goals and next steps. Curiosity builds the future. On the other hand, curiosity without progress is stagnating indulgence.

What traditional leadership qualities stunt growth and innovation?

What leadership qualities inspire growth, innovation, and future-building?

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