I still remember being promoted to my first leadership position. I was a fairly new salesperson when I was promoted to the position of General Sales Manager. I skipped several layers of leadership to reach that level. That put me in kind of a strange position. It put the people who were my bosses on Friday in an even weirder spot because the following Monday I was their boss.
Many people were shocked by my sudden rise in the organization but no one was more shocked than me. It all happened so quickly that to this day I don’t know exactly why I was promoted so far up the organizational chart. But I do know I felt like kind of a fraud.
The people working for me had a lot more experience. They knew stuff I didn’t know.
In fact I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. But I knew this much, many of the people suddenly working for me were very unhappy about it. They didn’t like working for someone much younger and far less experienced than them.
So I resolved to fake it until I learned everything I would need to know to be a successful leader.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t fool anyone…except maybe myself.
That was many years ago and I’ve yet to learn everything I need to know to be a truly complete leader. But I’m okay with that because I now know I will never know enough to avoid every possible mistake.
All leaders need to know that they can never know it all. They need to know that saying “I don’t know” doesn’t make them a weak leader, it makes them a human leader.
Authentic Leaders don’t need to know more than the people they lead. In fact, the best leaders want people on their team who know things they don’t. They want people who know enough to challenge and enlighten their thinking.
If you’re a leader who believes they need to fake it until they know more than everyone else then you’re a leader who needs to rethink that. You can never know it all. So stop believing you need to and accept the fact that if you allow it to be, every day is an opportunity to learn something new.
Authentic Leaders never miss that opportunity and neither should you.