As human beings, we are constantly interpreting situations around. It is how we navigate the barrage of information around us and survive. We decide what is relevant, irrelevant, and an obstacle for us. Sometimes, however, we forget that we are interpreting, and treat our views as if they are objective facts as if they are reality itself.
As human beings, we are constantly interpreting situations around. It is how we navigate the barrage of information around us, and survive. We decide what is relevant, irrelevant, and an obstacle for us. Sometimes, however, we forget that we are interpreting, and treat our views as if they are objective facts, as if they are reality itself. At Axialent, we call this the mindset of the knower. It often manifests as a lack of curiosity or desire to understand other person’s perspective, not necessarily maliciously so.
Often the knower mindset appears when we have deep expertise in an area, but we are stressed, in a hurry, and are trying to get things moving. The problem is that when we are in knower mindset, we treat our views and opinions as objective truth and fact, do not realize they are our subjective interpretation. We might be missing information, and be making assumptions based on our view, experience, et cetera, but don’t realize it. When we are closed, show no curiosity, and no desire to understand the views of others, we are not able to work across a complex matrix effectively, create the followership needed to influence optimal results and lead sustainably.
It takes focus and attention, but when we shift to a learner mindset, we actively treat our views and opinions as our subjective interpretation. We realize we are missing information, we ask questions, share and check our assumptions, and are open and curious to alternative views. This requires a great deal of humility and curiosity and, as leaders, we have to do the work to unhook our identity from what we know, and having the right answers, to building on the ideas of others and contributing authentically. When we feel someone disagreeing with our ideas means disagreeing with us, as a person, we may be stuck in a knower mindset.
Shifting to learner allows us to be okay with not knowing, and asking questions. Our self-esteem is based on learning and being effective. We can then get excited about someone disagreeing with our ideas, because this means alternative perspectives and a better chance and harvesting the diverse talent of our teams. Remember that a learner-oriented leader is still very decisive, and very driven, but they lead in the way that includes the perspective of others.