Why Your Lack Of Education May Be Your Biggest Leadership Strength

While many potential and current leaders see a lack of education as a weakness, I believe your lack of education can be your biggest strength. You might be surprised for the reasons. Yet, when I’m finished, I think you’ll agree.

You don’t have to be formally educated to lead. Though being educated doesn’t hurt. But what happens when you’re not educated?

Three men gathered around a laptop with a big bookshelf in the background

Photo by Pricilla Du Preez

You might believe other leaders are looking down on you. They see someone who hasn’t paid their dues or doesn’t have the commitment to stick through formal education. There’s a good chance they’d be wrong on both accounts.

Don’t be shamed by those who claim you have to have gone to college to become a leader. You don’t have to go through all of the schooling they say you do.

More than that, I believe formal education can be a weakness as much as a strength. What does this mean for you? Your lack of education can be a strength, not a weakness.

Why Your Lack Of Education May Be Your Biggest Leadership Strength

How can this be? An educated leader is always a better leader, right? This isn’t always true. There are a multitude of reasons. We’re going to look at 4 of those reasons.

1. Formally educated leaders get stuck in the theoretical:

Leaders who go through formal education to train up their leadership skills will often be taught theoretical leadership. They will have no first-hand knowledge of what it takes to be a leader.

You, on the other hand, have had practical experience in leading. You’ve experienced the struggles and tribulations leaders will face. And you’ve faced them like a boss.

This gives you actual, hands-on experience in leading. This is better than theory any day of the week.

2. Uneducated leaders are more willing to take risks:

While uncalculated risks are dangerous and should be avoided, taking calculated risks can pay off big time. These risks are avoided by educated leaders because their teachers have told them it can’t be done.

You don’t know any better. You haven’t been told what you can and can’t do as a leader. You’re learning as you go but you’re also willing to try things.

Because you don’t know any better, you can risk more. You are able to step out where others have been told “No” and succeed.

Be a risk taker.

3. You’ve discovered personal mentors:

Sure, someone who has gone through a formal education can call on their professor later in life. They can even call on former classmates. That’s a strength of formal education.

But, what about you? You don’t have a network of college professors or former classmates. Look at what you do have.

You have a network of personal connections. These have come through former jobs, friendships, and online learning. You’ve connected with people many would be fearful to reach out and connect with.

Your network is massive. This includes mentors and colleagues. Use them as an educated leader would use their school connections.

4. You’re not buried with college debt:

Do you want to know what I may believe is your biggest strength compared to a formally educated leader? You’re not straddled and buried with an ungodly amount of student loan debt.

Instead, you’ve been working and saving to make things work. You’re financially stable, or at least most of the way there. That’s a great feat.

Being free from college debt is an amazing thing. You don’t have a weight around your neck and you can shift positions without the worry of the financial burden of debt.

You may think being uneducated is a bad thing. I believe it can be a great strength. Don’t think you can’t lead just because you haven’t had the formal education. You can.

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