Good Leaders Aren’t Know-It-Alls

As a child, I loved to read the encyclopedia. As an adult, I often defer to my favorite electronic version, Wikipedia. There, the term “know-it-all” is actually listed as an apt reference for that very source.  It also lists the fictional character,  Alex Keaton from Family Ties as an example. So, unless you’re a walking encyclopedia, you’re probably not a know-it-all.

Smart leaders realize this and depend on others to help them find information and the means to implement their ideas. That’s one reason that good managers are important. Managers know how to organize and direct the operation of those ideas. (This doesn’t mean that managers can’t be leaders, too – but that’s another post.)

Once a leader focuses on a new direction, they need to find the best way to accomplish their goals. From there it takes a combination of luck, talent and hard work by all who are involved for any project to be successful.  

Success, of course is defined on many levels.  I recently found Thom Singer’s Blog, Some Assembly Required where he profiles a variety of successful leaders in his Praise Others Project . There’s good content there on well-knowns like Stephen Covey and soon-to-be-knowns like Jason Alba, founder of networking site, Jibber Jobber. I was especially excited to see the profile of one of my favorite thought leaders, Malcolm Gladwell of Tipping Point fame.  

Thankfully,  there’s always someone (or somewhere) else  I can turn to for more information in my pursuit of becoming a better leader.  And, although I won’t often publicize it, I can freely admit that I don’t know it all.

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1 comment so far

  1. Phil Gerbyshak on

    You are absolutely right. Good leaders know when to ask others for help, and are know what they don’t know as much as they share what they DO know. And sometimes, even when leaders do know the answer, it’s better that she/he ask the questions that help others find the answers.


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