Lead with a Beginner’s Curiosity
The Zen Buddists believe to shosin is to look at situations with a “beginner’s mind”. Andy Hargreaves and Dean Fink define this approach as “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Are you ready to lead with a beginner’s curiosity?
Truly effective leaders instinctively and intentionally live out this belief through their actions. For school decision makers this approach is counter intuitive to institutional training, practices and belief structures. Typical school leadership practices approach continuous improvement with the mentality of how do they address the issue within the existing institutional structures. From the onset this typical approach will yield typical results. As a transformational leaders you must be anything but typical.
Truly effective leaders instinctively and intentionally live out their beliefs through their actions. Many of your actions as a leader will be counter intuitive to institutional training, practices and belief structures within your organization. Your ability as a leader to recognize and navigate through challenges will be the difference between systemic vs situational change. Traditional approaches to continuous improvement reform begins with the mentality of how do they address the issue within the existing institutional structures. Resist this temptation and go shosin as a leader- proceed with a beginner’s mind.
Reform efforts need to be approached with a fresh set of eyes open to all possibilities for truly impactful and sustainable results to occur. Shoshin leaders need to have the courage to withstand the institutional resistance that will come in an attempt to protect status quo. These transformational leaders must also have the courage to relinquish positional authority and practice distributive leadership. Distributive leadership comes through empowerment, collaboration and shared accountability as the norm and expectation for all.
We were all born with innate curiosity and over time social norming confines our instincts. Leaders cannot fly in the face of institutional practice but rather, find ways to change the belief structures that define the culture.
Curiosity will breed innovation. Are you up to the challenge to lead with a beginners curiosity?
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