Why it’s good to be proved wrong as a leader

26/07/2021
Jon Pickering
CEO

Growth mindset – Why it’s good to be proved wrong as a leader  

We’ve all been in meetings when the most senior person – or certainly the most outspoken – tells you why their solution is the only way forward, and then switches off while others put their ideas forward.

That’s why, as a leader, it’s important to have the intent to listen, see other points of view and be armed with the self-assurance to change your mind – as long as the end goal provides a stronger outcome. Here’s why our CEO, Jon Pickering, believes you should see this way of working as a strength, not a weakness…

How many times have you gathered a small amount of knowledge or facts on a particular subject, and then used that information to provide a perspective or point of view when it’s been a topic of conversation around the meeting room or dinner table?

The thing is, at that particular time that is what you understand – it’s essentially your truth, regardless of whether it’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. That’s because our brains and minds are conditioned to react and respond, based on we what we have previously experienced, or learned, on a particular subject. It’s in-built into all of us as human beings and really difficult to change because it requires a shift in mindset and willingness to ‘rethink’.

A great example of this is science. We’ve most likely all learned about the solar system and the planets during our time at school – and, more recently, that Pluto may not actually be a planet after all.

So, what do you choose to believe – the science of decades ago or the science of now?

Following the advent of technology – and the huge amounts of data we can now unlock – it’d perhaps be foolish of us not to think differently, or be open to changing what we believe is true.

You don’t have to believe everything that you think

And that’s where a growth mindset comes into play. As a leader, you want to get the best from your teams and therefore have to be able to display a level of vulnerability. What I mean by that is, it’s important you make it clear that you don’t have all the answers, and that your role is to ensure the team finds the best solutions to problems. It’s about leveraging the knowledge and experience throughout the group because they are the experts.

As a CEO, I have learned to listen to ideas that make you think harder

Another quality – and this is not a weakness – is to actively demonstrate that you can listen to other perspectives and evaluate and change your mind on something if a colleague comes up with a better idea. It might sound easy, but the more experienced and ‘conditioned’ you are in certain situations, the more difficult this becomes!

A modern-day leader – especially one in the fast-paced technology sector – must adopt an agile growth mindset and base decisions on up-to-date evidence and facts. From a cultural perspective, if you’re trying to innovate and constantly improve, it’s important to make crucial decisions and empower employees to do the same, where they don’t feel fearful of putting their solutions forward.

So, if somebody in your organisation comes up with a better response or argument to a choice you’ve made, listen to them and embrace it. If you don’t, you might find yourself at the helm of an organisation stifled by autocracy – where those around you don’t feel their voice is heard or that you’re truly considering what they’re saying.

The best leaders are the ones willing to listen to others and, ultimately, be proved wrong. It’s this type of growth mindset that you have to embrace if you want to build a high-performing, collaborative culture.

You don’t have to believe everything you think, after all, knowledge is power. If you want to develop your education, this can only happen if you’re willing to learn, are able to evolve your beliefs and – more importantly – listen to others.

Read more about growth mindset here, discover Tiger’s values here.