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Every good leader knows he or she doesn’t know everything. But that’s not what leadership is about. Leadership is intentionally moving yourself and others toward a goal. Leadership is raising the standards while building up and developing people. Leadership is about creating the next generation of leaders who can, in turn, replicate themselves.
So, when a healthy leader does a good job, there will come a moment when a follower should not listen. If you, as a leader, have truly developed your people, gotten them to buy into the mission, empowered them to make decisions, etc., then they should be able to discern when you are missing the mark.
Since none of us speak ex cathedra (infallibly) we should appreciate those who ignore us when we shoot from the hip, let ego get into the mix, are side-tracked by the very office politics we are trying to squelch ‒ in other words, healthy leaders develop solid thinkers who will not listen to them when they shouldn’t. It’s part of developing good judgement.
Blindly following a leader ‒ even a great one ‒ is a formula for disaster. Plus, every leader needs help to stay on course. So many factors tempt a leader to take short cuts: lack of information, fatigue, stress, internal conflicts, economic conditions ‒ the list is endless. All good leaders know their limits, and plan for those limits by asking their people to think for themselves, and to keep the organization’s mission as the top priority even when they drop the ball.