Good leaders are learning machines. They constantly consume information, advice, and feedback in order to improve. They seek input from a wide variety of sources and take instruction from those with more experience than they have.
Strangely though, when it comes to learning, they often fail to take full advantage of their own leader.
Attempting to prove one’s competence and worth in the eyes of their leader inhibits many team members from seeking the bountiful wisdom contained in their leader’s experience. To maintain their independence and stake out their own path, team members often seek out and digest input from just about every source except the person that can help them the most. They protect their ego and credibility by turning off this important source of insight, much to their disadvantage and to the dismay of their leader.
It's time to get over it.
Asking for advice and wisdom from your leader is a sign of confidence, not weakness. Treat your leader as a coach and inquire how they see your skills, how they would advise you to do things differently, and what insights they might offer to make you more effective.
If treated like a coach, your leader will likely become a quality source of learning and perspicacity. More importantly, engaging your leader as a coach will create an ongoing dialogue about how both parties view high performance and the critical ingredients that foster it. As with all great coaching relationships, mutual influence is what keeps the conversation going.
Given the savvy, street-smarts, and experience of your leader, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of their wisdom while you can. Too many team members fail to do so. They regret it years later. It’s time to repent!
Hard agree! But here is another twist. If your boss is a lousy leader, you can also learn from their mistakes. I call this “learning from the negative paradigm,” and it can be quite a powerful tool when intentionally put into practice.