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Daily Leadership Thought #88 – There Are Few Things More Dangerous Than a Closed Mind

February 3, 2011

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There are few things more dangerous than a leader with a closed mind.  Once an individual thinks he/she has the market cornered on clever ideas, trouble begins to loom on the horizon.  The reality is that all things are in a constant state of change and evolution.  Organizations, like people, rarely stand still.  The movement can be forward or backwards, sometimes even lateral but it is never non-existent.  As evidenced lately, political leaders who try to resist alternative points of view or simmering discontent, do so with significant risk.  No one should think they are empowered to act with impunity.

History books and business journals are full of examples of leaders who ignored reality at great peril and plowed forward with narrow-minded or misinformed agendas that were doomed to fail.  Your job as a leader is to constantly broaden your circle of advisors and challenge the status quo thinking.  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t fundamental truths or bedrock principles that you shouldn’t fall back on, but they should be carefully evaluated first.  It also doesn’t mean you should lack confidence in your abilities or talents, it means that this confidence should be built on a willingness to grow and evolve your thinking and understanding of the world around you.  Otherwise, confidence without knowledge and perspective quickly becomes hubris.   In business and life, arrogance is usually a precursor to isolation, unhappiness, and failure.

Don’t fall into the leadership trap of having a closed mind.  Your company cannot afford it.