The Blindfold of Experience in Leadership

I have learned many times, as leaders, we are blindfolded by the experience we have gained over the years.

Here’s what I mean.

We falsely assume everyone knows what we know.

We forget what we once didn’t know.

This realization has been one of the major fuels of this blog through the years and why I wrote the book “The Mythical Leader”. I often feel what I’m writing is elementary in the field of leadership.

But, I also know what is elementary to one is high school or even college to others.

This is also why we can never stop learning. That’s a dangerous thing for a leader to ever do. I’m saying to be conscious of the fact that if you have been a leader for any length of time, chances are good you’ve learned a few things along the way, which has gotten you where you are today. Some you learned from observing other people. Some you learned by practice. Some of it you learned by trying and things not turning out as you hoped they would.

Don’t be a blindfolded leader. Remember:

You have experiences others don’t have.

You have knowledge others don’t have.

You have information others don’t have.

It may come from experience, training or simply by position.

And, it creates for you two choices you’ll have to make as a leader:

You could hold on to what you know, use it as a sense of power or control over people.

Or, you can share what you know, generously investing in those around you who are hungry to learn. You can mentor people trying to follow you. You can be honored they want to know something you maybe forgot you know or an experience you took for granted.

I encourage you to make the wiser choice. Be a people builder.

The more you invest, the more it expands your ability to lead, the more it develops others, and the greater your legacy as a leader will be.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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  • Ferrell says:

    This post is SO TRUE. I have often gotten frustrated with staff and volunteers because what was so obvious to me, they totally missed. Then I would realize that "missit it" was not because of poor leadership, but inexperience. "Been-there-done-that" is a wonderful teacher! That's why I love your blog, it holds me accountable and helps me to more thoroughly and honestly evaluate myself as a senior pastor.

    As it relates to working with very talented, yet very inexperienced leaders I have also found the opposite to be true. Younger leaders often think they know it all (as did I from age 18-30), and that old guys like me (56) are a bit out of touch. I have sometimes felt younger leaders roll their eyes when I warned them of the possible consequences of a decision they are about to make. Most of the time I will allow a staff member to go ahead and move forward with a decision that I do not fully agree with because this is how they gain experience. Sometimes they were right and I was wrong. Sometimes my expectation of poor results was fulfilled.

    I have signed up for MANY leadership blogs and yours in in the top 5 … always insightful and practical! This one was a bull's eye – as usual!

  • Thanks for the encouraging post Pastor Ron! Thanks for the motivation tonic you provide every morning through this blog. As I read this post, I am reminded of the episode from the New Testament where Paul encourages and builds Timothy. What a blessing for young Timothy to get mentored under Paul!!!

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