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What is it about the moment we’re promoted that implies we know it all right away? It seems to apply to parenting, volunteer roles, and management positions. But, no matter what your title, I‘m quite certain your hindsight was more clear on some things than what you thought you knew when you got the job. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could cheat and get some “hindsight” ahead of time? Well, you can.
My father once said that “Wisdom is something you gain from the experience of others.” Doesn’t that sound a lot better than having to learn it the hard way? We don’t have to know it all and in order to gain some wisdom and some clarity and some hindsight, cheat, so to speak, and follow these steps:
Ask someone who has Been there, Done that.
Hindsight and lessons learned are what prompted me to write Contagious Leadership in the first place. I made so many mistakes and the biggest one is I very rarely asked for help. Find a mentor or a person who has done the role you now have, well, and ask their advice. Most often people love to share what they have learned and you don’t always have to TAKE their advice, but it adds to your perspective.
Become an Observer.
While it’s true that we all learn differently and that only about 20% of the population is what we call kinesthetic learners, who must learn by doing, there is something to be said for watching how it’s done before you launch into your own trial and error experiment. When leading people, trial and error can have some detrimental and truly contagious ripple effects. Why not step back, take a seat, and watch someone else to see what works and what didn’t? Keep in mind, once you observe, you will need to get out of the bleachers and take action, but if you’ll become a student of others first, the actions you take will have more positive results than diving in and doing with simply no clue of your possible outcomes.
Find a coach.
If we have a medical issue, we go to a doctor. We usually don’t assume what we find on Wikipedia will substitute for a medical degree. We ask an expert. When our car breaks down, we might look online a little, but at the end of the day, if it stops the car from moving, we find an expert. In business, why is this so different? If you’ve never been a manager before or a business owner before and what you are doing is stopping the business from moving, why wouldn’t you seek out an expert who has done what you need to do and pay them for their expertise?
With each of these steps, you’ll find valuable information. With each of these steps you’ll learn from someone else’s wisdom. It’s not cheating really, it’s called growth and a gaining of hindsight ahead of time. After all, those people who taught you to walk and talk, you listened to and learned from by observing, testing, and trusting their expertise, as they were telling you with language what to do from that standing up and walking position.
How have you benefitted from coaching, others’ wisdom and gained hindsight ahead of time?