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The Beginner’s Mind

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As leaders, it’s easy to think that our job is to control outcomes and make people do things the way we want them to be done. However, it turns out that controlling doesn’t always lead to the best results.


Control reveals itself differently for each person. It could be muscling your way through a situation, not sharing your thoughts, trying to get everyone excited about your idea or asking lots of questions and going down rabbit holes until every possibility has been discussed.

When leading people or using your thoughts and ideas to influence outcomes, many times you think about how you would go about getting the result. Then the agenda is set and top down thinking ensues. You become focused on the initial outcome you want and you start the recruiting process to convince people to see it your way.

The problem with this approach is that it means you are missing out on all of the amazing opportunities and possibilities that everyone else brings to the table.


What is an alternative approach that will yield results that are just as good, or even better? Shifting to collaboration and co-creation allows you to set your thoughts and ideas aside, let go of the outcome and use the strengths and talents of everyone to expand the possibilities. It allows the experience to be about getting to the best possible outcome that is tied to the purpose.

In this scenario, it is not about you, your expertise or lack thereof. True collaboration and co-creation comes from the beginner’s mind. While it can be difficult to set aside your own opinions and perspective, it’s an important leadership skill. Instead, cultivate your ability to listen to understand. Be curious and open minded, giving room for growth.


The important part here is that you, the leader, be clear about the result and how it is connected to the larger purpose of the company. Many times, this is the missing piece that we skip over. Rather than controlling and micro-managing the process, you are there to keep the connection to the overall vision and guide your team toward contributing to the larger purpose in the best way possible.

Do you want to be a leader that promotes collaboration? Do you want to utilize the strengths and talents of everyone on your team? Are you looking to achieve the best organizational results based on the purpose of the company?

In my Coach Approach Leadership Guide, I talk more about the shift from control to collaboration, which is part of the triad of transformation. There is great power in making small shifts, so download your copy of the guide today.

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