The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Assuming knowing

There is a growing understanding, that leaders cannot know everything. A bit more difficult is to deal with the understanding that they may not always have an answer.

The assumption is that they should know and be able to provide guidance. It is the assumption that they are leading their team in a specific direction, have a strategy, and thus should be able to prevent the team from feeling lost. And there also is a desire in the team, that they are right.

As teams project these desires and hopes on their leaders, leaders can find themselves pushed to fulfill these desires.

This easily invites in leaders the desire to be right and the anxiety that it might not be the case. It requires courage and awareness for them to remain able to avoid shortcuts, bet on opinions, jump to conclusions, and instead be curious or willing to stay in a space of not knowing.

Leaders may have learned to form strong opinions and hold them loosely. But that isn’t enough. It’s also important to keep a strong hold on not knowing until a loose opinion starts to form itself.

Not every decision depends on predicting the outcome. And every decision benefits from knowing what isn’t known.



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