The Benefits Of Being An Ignorant Leader

Did you know you could benefit from being an ignorant leader?

It sounds counter-intuitive but it’s the truth. There’s a benefit in being ignorant.

Man staning on top of Mount Washington

Image by Izzard

What Makes An Ignorant Leader

I’m not talking about being lacking knowledge or being stupid. That won’t make you a better leader.

What I’m talking about is being ignorant of what’s not possible.

When you’re ignorant of the impossible, you’re able to lead better. You’re able to lead into the unknown.

Why Being Ignorant Makes You A Better Leader

All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
— Mark Twain

Being ignorant can be a huge asset in your leadership. You’re willing to attempt things that have never been done.

Take the tales of leaders like:

  • Christopher Columbus: He took a route that others said was impossible. He ignored that fact and proved them wrong. Discovering America and changing the course of human history
  • John F. Kennedy: Who would have thought we could put a man on the moon? In 1963, John challenged America to send a man to the moon. We satisfied that impossible challenge.
  • Joel Runyon: He’s a man on a mission. He’s pushing himself to do the things he had thought were impossible. Pushing aside those doubts and becoming ignorant, he’s completed many tasks he thought was impossible.
  • B.F. Goodrich: He was the laughingstock of Akron, Oh as he tried to vulcanize rubber. As we all know, he succeeded and became a millionaire.

When you’re ignorant of what can’t be done, it makes everything possible. You’re able to move forward where others see obstacles and roadblocks.

Ignorant leaders see possibilities. New horizons that are waiting to be crossed. Discoveries that have yet to be made.

They’re also able to see past the doubts and disbelief of those who are in the know.

If others are saying it can’t be done, they’re asking “Why?” or “Can I do it?” There’s a sense of challenge and excitement. They don’t see the obstacle, they see the payoff.

Being an ignorant leader takes courage. It takes faith. It takes thick skin.

You’ll be criticized for pie in the sky thinking. Or for being unrealistic. Or for being foolish.

Yet if you’re unwilling to take the risk, you’ll never see the payoff.

In the end, is it really ignorant leadership or wise leadership? The choice is up to you.

When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.
— Warren Buffett

Question: When have you succeeded because you were ignorant to the fact that it couldn’t be done? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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