The beginner’s mind as a leadership trait

Several years ago I attended a workshop in Austin for a Public Speaking Workshop at The Wizard Academy, At the time I’d been speaking for nearly 15 years, however, I was very excited to learn from someone who charges $25,000 (yes that’s right) per speech. Think there might be something here for people who want to speak?

For me to get the most out of the workshop, I needed to enter the classroom as though I knew nothing about speaking. I decided to have the attitude of a beginner.

If I had gone in the classroom tomorrow holding all I know about being a speaker, that would have shut out the possibility of me learning and experiencing something that could greatly improve my speaking and success.

In the past, I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking I have to have all the answers and have it perfect. If you can identify with this, think about it because you may miss opportunities by already having the “right answers.” There are times we need to have the mindset of a beginner so we don’t shut out possibilities to big breakthroughs and insights. A beginner is curious. A beginner has an empty slate. A beginner has no baggage from past history.

The beginner’s mind can absorb more than a mind filled with the best way to do this and the right answer for that. The beginner mind is pliable, moldable, open.

There are times it is advantageous as a leader to have a beginner’s mind. With problem-solving, a beginner’s mind helps eliminate the “we’ve done it before” syndrome and can lead to innovation.

A leader with a beginner’s mind can see solutions from different perspectives and involve her team in developing answers to problems.

It seems contrary to common wisdom, however, to empty your mind on a subject matter you feel you are an expert in and put yourself in the shoes of a beginner, is a powerful exercise.

For a complimentary consultation on managing your leadership style, contact me and I will connect with you to schedule a phone appointment.

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential.

© 2014 Kathy Garland