Does a leader need to know everything?

Is being a leader a service job or an insurmountable task of being perfect in every respect? Does a leader have to know more than everybody else?

Successful leaders surround themselves with people who know more than they do – and listen to them.

In my opinion the mission of a successful leader is to make sure colleagues know more than he/she does about the tasks each of them are carrying out. Have interviewed a multitude of heads of states and without failure they had several advisers present who, if necessary, filled in regarding details and areas the president didn’t know about.

Nobody’s perfect

So why do so many heads of companies and organisations believe they have to know everything there is to know? In today’s business climate it’s impossible to master everything. On top of it it’s futile to try to know everything. Nobody does. So don’t make your business dependent on one or two people only.

It’s the leaders job to make sure that the company rests on a huge platform of knowledge and competence. And to ensure the staff really know what they are doing, not that you beat them to it in every respect.

Are you competing with your staff?

Are you a leader that gets stressed by colleagues knowing more than you do? How about looking at it as the day your staff are more skilled in what they are doing than you are, you have succeeded?

Leaders that competes with their colleagues are detrimental to the organisation they are running. Compare that with Ronald Reagan, a good example of a leader who didn’t know everything but surrounded himself with experts that did and listened to them. Another prime example is Richard Branson who delegates to qualified people. And it’s no secret that they are both regarded as very successful leaders. So how about following in their footsteps and make sure you thoroughly master the art of leadership and allow your colleagues to be experts at what they are doing? If you do, you will not only succeed as a leader but make sure your business flourish as well. Provided of course you listen to the experts you surround yourself with.

Photo: PhotoXpress – Alexandr Shebanov

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106 Responses to “Does a leader need to know everything?”

  1. Laura Sherman Says:

    LOVE the pic! :-)

    I think there is a happy medium here. I think a leader that truly doesn't know anything about an area will be a detriment. You must know something about each department to lead. However, you shouldn't waste time learning how to do website design or bookkeeping. You should just know enough to be able to intelligently manage.

    It's a little different if you're the head of a country. It gets harder to learn all the different areas you'd need to know. Still, I would hope that the president would know enough to make the decisions he'd need to make and not just trust someone else 100%.

  2. catarinaalexon Says:

    Bet you love the pic!:)

    Obviously a leader has to know the overall picture of all that his company is dealing with. However, you don't need to get into details. The largest corporations in this world for instace has hundreds of thousands of employees. It's almost like running a country.

    Only leaders of small businesses can know more or less everything, or even everything, there is to know about their businesses

    Most heads of states and leaders of multinationals do make their own decisions based on the expert knowledge they listen to. But they can't know everything there is to know about everything – there simply isn't enough time.

    The problem however is that far too many leaders in this world are competing with their staff and wouldn't employ someone who knows more than they do, which is hugely detrimental to the organisation they are running. There are many reasons for that happening. But whatever reason, the fact remains that organisations with leaders like that will lose out heavily.

  3. newhorizons123 Says:

    Hi Catarina,

    Insecurity and arrogance are oftentimes reasons why some leaders don't want to hire anyone who might know more than they do. It is far more advantageous to increase an organization's knowledge base by combining talents and expertise in a team environment for the betterment of all those involved.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  4. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree with you completely.

  5. Alexander Schlager Says:

    A business leader would normally / ideally have a 'T-Profile'. The vertical axis of the T representing the leader's specific field of expertise (background) and the horizontal axis representing her or his broad based (but not necessarily in depth) knowledge about the business itself, the industry, the company, etc..

    Once one understands that it requires a specific quantity of 'I' profiles (subject matter experts) to meet respective targets and objectives, emphasis is being put on a) knowing where which knowledge resides within the organization (departmental and individual), b) the composition of expertise required for a specific objective (thus the importance of the horizontal axis of the 'T') and c) mobilizing existing resources (motivation) and attracting new talent (knowledge gain).

    A leader therefore should rather put up an image / display of being an excellent conductor rather than master of every single instrument within the orchestra…

    Cheers,

    Alex

  6. catarinaalexon Says:

    In other words Alexander you agree that a leader doesn't need to know everything there is to know.

  7. GuyW Says:

    I agree, Catarina. Very simplistically put, a leader's role is to know a little about a lot, while the experts know a lot about a little.

    Leadership is about marshalling your forces to achieve the results you need, not doing it all yourself (which is where leaders who know it all often go wrong). It's setting the vision and inspiring everyone to want to achieve it. Alexander's analogy of a leader being like a conductor is a great one!

    Much the same as a country – except that politicians tend to express a vision and then ignore it for expediency and vote-catching once in office. Too few country leaders realise they're running a very large business…

  8. catarinaalexon Says:

    Great points Guy.

    You should have seen the amount of advisers some heads of states and chairman of multinational companies surround themselves with. A whole entourage. You are on your own against ten people or more. A clear illustration of the difference between being a leader and an expert.

  9. Marian Nielsen Says:

    A leader does not need to know everything because effective leaders surround themselves with the right & best people. All a leader needs to know is the big picture and to use the experts that he/she surrounds himself/herself with in achieving set objectives.

  10. catarinaalexon Says:

    Couldn't have said it better myself Marian.

  11. Lindsey McCaffrey Says:

    Interesting you bring this up, Catarina – I actually just came across a great article over the last few days about the difference between managers and leaders. Basically, a manager copes with complexity, while a leader copes with change. You can view a good chunk of the article (first published in the late 90s in Harvard Business Review) for free at http://hbr.org/2001/12/what-leaders-really-do/ar/….

  12. Patric Roberts Says:

    We live in a period of unprecedented change. Humanity is in the midst of creating a new civilization. Alvin Toffler describes three waves of civilization. The first wave was agriculture, the second wave industrialization and the third wave is a radically new communication structure and non-industrial wave built on sand (silicon), wire (optical) and air. While the knowledge landscape of previous generations was stable and changed little, knowledge is now doubling three times a decade. Confronted with all this new knowledge, technology and possibilities, the essential strategic question is how to design new structures and organizations that can thrive in the 21st century. Leaders design living organizations as learning community sharing knowledge.

    For previous generations, business and commerce were local in scope and slow to change. The world of commerce we live in today sees change happen instantly and globally. In response to these rapidly changing realities, everyone needs to learn how to be a designer. Design is a way of thinking that is concerned with inventing actions that open new opportunities while anticipating future breakdowns. Everyone within an organization can be empowered to design and make a difference all the time.

    Leadership is a conversation addressing human concerns through coordinating actions with others and inventing new realities and identities within our human community. Phrased another way, this is a matter of inventing anew the games in which we participate. It is a conversation of we versus I, with a vision and mission to build and take care of our future as a community. Leaders read the world, and then sculpt the actions of others in language. They inspire others into new games and plays…. In addition, when masterful, into a new vision of the future.

    To create these new organizations of the future we need to shift the focus of management from objects, things and events to human communication and relationship. Every organization is a network of conversations. An organization starts with a declaration in language and proceeds to a network of commitment: requests and promises between governors and governed, employers and employees, and customers and vendors. No matter where you are, the language you speak is commitment. We need organizational simplicity that can cut deep into the assessment of modern complexity.

    No one knows where we are going and real leadership today embraces uncertainty while caring, feeding and nurturing ethical creativity in the unique narratives of everyone in becoming an essential player in the new game of designing a future together.
    Thanks Catarina

  13. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad we, and Harvard Business Review, agree Lindsey. Have already read that article. Leadership is a huge subject and because articles on blogs have to be short I just focused on one aspect.

  14. Arfan Says:

    A leader has to know enough about each subject he discourses to understand what is being said to allow him to make informed judgments. That's my view and it's how I manage and it seems to work pretty well though I have to spend a considerably large amount of time reading!

  15. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good point Arfan. A leader, and all other people for that matter, has to keep on learning on a continouos basis. If not, we stagnate. Seriously, the day I stop learning I'm dead.

  16. Dennis salvatier Says:

    I completely agree. A leader is only as strong as the people who surround and advise them. Great post.

  17. keepupweb Says:

    Catarina, As I was reading your article, Ronald Reagan immediately popped into my mind. He was one of the best presidents we ever had. Just as you pointed out, he surrounded himself with experts and listened to them! Being able to listen is a great skill that helps to separate leaders from managers. To be successful, governments and businesses need leaders. Nice post.

  18. Jeannette Paladino Says:

    In a management development course I took, we defined a leader who people "willingly and voluntarily follow." If a leader stifles new ideas by say s/he knows everything, soon employees will withdraw from the interaction every leader needs in order to grow the company.

  19. Rob Berman Says:

    I was thinking about the difference between a leader and a manager. Lindsey above in the comments elucidated this point. A leader is someone who is not afraid to surround themselves with competent people. A strong leader should hire people who are smarter in a variety of areas.

    Rob

  20. keyuri joshi Says:

    Great post. I think of a leader as someone who can step away from his / her role for perhaps weeks at a time and know that their company is going to be in capable hands and feel at ease about it.

  21. Paul Novak Says:

    A good leader already knows he doesn't know everything, is secure and confident in what he does know, and is smart enough to realize that the best leaders are good at choosing the smartest followers;)

  22. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree with you completely Jeannette. Such a "leader" is really a manager. Unfortunately there are far too many managers out there who believe they are leaders.

  23. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree but managers frequently think they are leaders resulting in competent people not being promoted because they are seen as a threat.

  24. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good point Keyuri.

  25. catarinaalexon Says:

    Agree with you completely Paul.

  26. catarinaalexon Says:

    Couldn't have said it better myself Sherryl.

  27. Prabhakar Says:

    First of all thanks to Catarina to raise such a good topic for discussion. I appreciate all the comments posted from various members, two comments posted by Lindsey and Patrick were excellent and gave more insight into the discussion or enlighted the essence of being a leader or a manager.

    In my view a leader need not know everything, however saying that he should have the basic knowledge of what he has to do as there would be many followers who would be waiting very anxiously & patiently for his next move. There are always exceptions for things and in a similar way there are some leaders who with their vast experience and the knowledge gained after visiting lot of places are the real leaders.

  28. Prabhakar Says:

    From the above I would like to showcase two types of leaders, the first ones who learn from the existing corporate worlds from books that have been authored by the great masters and from lot of workshops related to communication and how to become a leader. The second category are the real people who after going through all the tough times in their life and the environment they are brought up, gather the learnings and initiate the thought process of how to bring the change. People would voluntarily follow these kind of leaders.

    As an example Mahatma Gandhi was a very learned man, has studied the subject of Law and saw all the sufferings of the people, the thought process was invoked and he changed his mind, initially no one followed him and later the whole country followed him and then the whole world. Ofcourse the situation or the scenario was different, however one can learn many things from this person and that is where the idea of change should evolve.

  29. Prabhakar Says:

    Similarly take an example of the latest event of Barek Obama visiting India, he visited one of the colleges in Mumbai and was answering the questions being posed by the young Indians. He would not know what could be the questions they can be realted to anything, however being a leader his maturity and understanding of the environment and things around the world made him answer the questions with the thoughts.

    In the current corporate world there is no harm if the chariman or the ceo does not know about the indepth of the technologies, the only thing he should be aware of is that where can that technology be used so that he can utilise his best minds towards the betterment of the society and bringing the change. The leader is the one who should be able to judge what is the best way to deal with a situation or crisis and guide his team or followers to safety, by this way the trust and bondage between him and his colleagues or followers would be there permanently.

  30. Susan Oakes Says:

    Sorry I did not see this post and a bit late to the conversation. I absolutely agree that a leader does not have to know everything. If they thought they did then I would be worried.

    Your post reminds me of a story about Henry Ford. I can't find the source so only going from memory. Please corrrect the story if it is wrong. I think it was a court case and someone was saying that he was ignorant because he did not know some kind of detail. His reply was something like he did not need to know the details because he surrounded himself with experts and could call on them in his organisation at any time.

  31. catarinaalexon Says:

    Great comment Susan. Henry Ford was right.

  32. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good points Prabhakar.

  33. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good comments Prabhakar that outline different ways people can learn leadership. However, we shouldn't forget that it's not enough to learn leadership. If you are not born with the qualities needed you will never be as good as someone who is.

  34. Dean Says:

    Leadership is all about listening, learning from those who know and encouraging those on the team to come forward and make contributions with their knowlegde, know how and skill sets. A great leader focuses on building a team that will add to his effectiveness as manager of the process with the objective of executing the challenges at hand and winning the prize for all.

  35. catarinaalexon Says:

    Correct Dean. Presumably you agree that a leader doesn't need to know everything.

  36. Christel Frantz Says:

    No, I think a leader needs to be flexible and utilize specialists to his/advantage. No one can or should know everything. I think a leader should be moral, courageous and compasionate while balancing that with analytics, savy, knowledge and the judicious use of power.

  37. catarinaalexon Says:

    Couldn't have said it better Christel.

  38. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good points that I agree with Dennis.

  39. Eric Saint-Guillain Says:

    In a fast moving environment, it is impossible for a leader as for anybody to know about everything. The main asset skill of a leader as of a manager is to delegate to other people some competences and expertise, but as "leader", he has to follow the files or the projects he is leading or managing and needs to have regular updates in order to take appropriate decisions or give necessary guidelines. There is more in few heads than in one head. The interactions and feedbacks between team members and leader is essential. A good leader is somebody who have cense of humility and who accepts to learn from everybody.

  40. catarinaalexon Says:

    True Eric.

  41. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good points Ganesh that I agree with.

  42. Elisabeth Lenain Says:

    I agree with Eric, a leader delegates to trusted competent people in charge of different departments or experts in each field of activity. However he has to know enough of the subject to understand and/or discuss it and being able to approve and sign a decision made with/by his expert or team of experts.

  43. Josh Slavitt Says:

    A leader needs to know how to LEAD. That implicitely means they are never going to know everything about everything. I always believed in the rule: Hire people who are smarter than you. Hire your successor. Moreover, give people the room they need to get the job done. Set paramenters, define clear, explicit goals, for certain. Then get the hell out of the way. If an employee needs guidance — provided they've thought things through — then you are fulfilling your role as a supervisor. Even more importantly, if an employee needs "air cover" because they've backed into a turf war over an issue, then if they're right you've especially got to step in. But even if they were wrong, as a supervisor you owe it to your people and your department to address the issue, get it cleaned up and move forward. But nobody knows everything and if you don't have the confidence to admit it, then maybe you need to find another job.

  44. Hemantha K Pamarthy Says:

    What an ambitious thought? and how empowering it would be if the leader has all the ansers.

    But in this creation, however, good, charismatic and intelligent a leader maybe, having all answers is not biologically possible.

    That is why many take a recourse to the new God, the "Google" :-)

    Best wishes
    Hemantha Pamarthy

  45. Bob Maitland Says:

    Catarina,
    The consensus is that a good leader admits that he/she doesn’t know everything.

    Then why are there still so many managers who continue to act this way?

    People telling other people what to do has been the norm since people began working for other people, maybe 3000 years ago. It continued in the traditional organization model that supported the industrial revolution. The manager was the professional and the workers were in off the farm.

    It is only in the last 20 years or so that the situation has begun to shift. The complexity of modern organizations, globalization, the pace of change, the higher education levels of workers and the development of an industry around leadership have combined to alter the way that organizations are managed. Some businesses have a greater need to adjust than others. Just like with new product or service, you have early adapters, middle adapters, late adapters and never adapters,

    People take their lead from their manager. So when the manager thinks he/she knows all the answers, the people do not offer any. This forces the manager to have the answer because no one else is trying to solve the problem. So it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    If his/her manager exhibits the same behavior, then you have a reinforcing cycle.

  46. Lubaina Says:

    I completely agree that leaders do not need to know everything. However, its a dog-eat-dog world out there..so if leaders surround themselves with people better than them, what qualities must they possess to still be able to maintain the leadership position? In other words, what qualities is an insecure leader lacking??

  47. catarinaalexon Says:

    Definitely Elisabeth.

  48. catarinaalexon Says:

    Lubaina, how many true leaders have you ever met that are insecure?

  49. catarinaalexon Says:

    Bob, there have also been leaders for thousands of years. In recent years the trend of only looking at short term results came from the US and led to more and more managers being employed. Several US management consultants have told me that they often notice that those managers are afraid of true leaders who are hence not hired, promoted and the first ones to be made redundant. Have noticed the same phenomena all over the world.

  50. catarinaalexon Says:

    True Hemantha. "In Google we trust!"

  51. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good comment Josh.

  52. catarinaalexon Says:

    Pierre, which comment are you referring to?

  53. Mallory Starr Says:

    A leader does not need to know details or know everything. A leader is in, my opinion on point — out in front and evaluating and reacting to the horizon or future rather than being tied to the day to day management of operations and cost and profit center details. The leader or leaders should have a sense of P & L and what is going on inside his or her organization as well as be assured that details are managed. In essence a leader is like an orchestra conductor who leads but not need know how to play many of the instruments.

  54. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Mallory. Good way of putting it.

  55. catarinaalexon Says:

    That's another way of saying more or less the same, Sushant.

  56. Nazgul Says:

    Catarina, thank you for this interesting post.

  57. Virendra Kumar Says:

    A leader cannot command respect only by his leadership qualities. He should be a jack of all trades, (may be, master of none). If a person reaches top leadership position only through a specific functional specialist role, he tends to devote more time to the functions he is familiar/ comfortable with, neglecting giving directions to others

  58. catarinaalexon Says:

    My pleasure, Nazgul.

  59. catarinaalexon Says:

    Virendra, thank you for giving us your definition of what a leader is. Good points but does a leader have to know everything?

  60. Kim W. Hoffman Says:

    Knowing everything isn't necessary; the ability to assimilate information in a rapid and economical way is far more important. This quality has been illustrated historically, think of any leader you may deem "great," or even of the lesser – those who have been motivated more by hubris, or the hubris of others. Both, I suppose, can be found in numerous fields. One might think of Lincoln or Churchill, or Henry Ford or Thomas Edison. Examples abound. But consider the ability to process information quickly so as that it is essentially second nature by the time one is ready to act on it.

  61. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Kim. Good points.

  62. Doug Says:

    Good leaders are evolutionary understanding the dynamics of change and the vision to attain the appropriate tools and processes to the current environment.

  63. catarinaalexon Says:

    True Doug. Do you believe a leader needs to know everything?

  64. Jorde Says:

    I believe that a true leader does not really have to know everything
    But he/she must have a vision, dream, easy going person with good manners.
    So his/her Stuff members would enjoy to work and receive tasks from him/her.
    Good leader always listens to his followers and makes good and smart decisions

  65. GuyW Says:

    As you say, Catarina, leadership is not about knowing more than everyone else, but about knowing enough to bring the experts in their areas together and ensure they work well together to achieve the organisation's goals. It's about leading a team in the true sense of the word.

  66. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad we agree Guy.

  67. catarinaalexon Says:

    True Jorde.

  68. Keith Coe Says:

    Catarina,
    I could not agree with you more. I have always thought of it like this; "A leader does not have to know all of the answers. They have to know where to find the answers." Finding the answers could involve co-workers, outside consultants, professional contacts, etc. The last thing I wanted was to be the best at something in my group. I would rather select and develop subordinates that perform their duties better than I could.

  69. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Keith.

  70. Fletch Says:

    A good leader surrounds him/her self with smart people, and constantly inspires, encourgages,
    rewards and motivates people that are getting the job done.

  71. catarinaalexon Says:

    True, Fletch, but does a leader have to know everything?

  72. Doug Says:

    Sorry for the late reply. No I do not believe leaders need to know everything. It's a collaberative effort relying on the expertise of others within the organizational structure. There is no "I" in team! Effective leaders check their egos at the door and openly communicate with their teams and employees at all levels. Solutions can come from anywhere within the organization and knowing how to use these resources effectively can bring significant results.

  73. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad we agree Doug.

  74. Dave Keith Says:

    Every great leader I’ve known has an “awareness” that surrounds them. Kind of an anti-BS instinct that provides the ability to accurately assess what they encounter and chose the proper resources for the situation. If you are truly adept at leadership you can go into situations you have no experience with and become monumentally successful.

    We’ve all read the stories about a CEO that leaves their field of expertise to take on the challenge of a struggling company in an industry they have no experience in and guides them back to success. That CEO has the ability to “observe and absorb” helping them determine who the “right” people are to have confidence in and where problems are creating roadblocks or annoyances. Roadblocks become priorities and annoyances become changes in culture. Each situation delegated to the lowest possible level, and by that I mean to those nearest to the situation, and monitored for progress.

    That’s my take on what a leader has to know from my own experiences and appreciate everyone who has provide their insight and ideas for all to learn from.

  75. catarinaalexon Says:

    Excellent points Dave! But they apply to real leaders only. It's impossible for a manager to take over a company in an industry they have no experience in and succeed.

  76. Doreen Pendgracs Says:

    I definitely don't think a leader has to know everything. But they have to know how to learn and to listen from those around them who do possess the knowledge or experience they are lacking.
    My recent post Chocolatouring in Switzerland

  77. Leora Says:

    I can understand the temptation to want present oneself as knowing all. But it's an impulse that needs to be overcome – better to rely on a good staff as you say.
    My recent post Create Photo Gallery with WP Native Gallery

  78. becc03 Says:

    I am of the same opinion as you. A leader who makes sure colleagues know more is doing their job well. To be so arrogant to think that you need to know everything is just well, arrogant!
    My recent post How to set your Christmas table for under $100

  79. catarinaalexon Says:

    Exactly, Doreen. Glad, but not surprised, we are of the same opinion.

  80. catarinaalexon Says:

    So can I, Leora. Catch is nobody knows everything. Great staff that have knowledge you don't have goes a long way.

  81. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me, Rebecca.

  82. jacquiegum Says:

    I agree that a leader does not need to know everything, yet to use ignorance as an excuse to deny responsibility is also wrong. While a leader might trust his surrounding experts, I till believe that he should trust but verify.
    My recent post Is This My Future? …WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?

  83. cheryltherrien Says:

    A good leader has people they can count on that know what they themselves don't know. You can't know everything, but you can be smart enough to surround yourself with all the knowledge.
    My recent post Tessellating Brownies

  84. catarinaalexon Says:

    Exactly, Cheryl.

  85. catarinaalexon Says:

    Definitely, Jacqueline. Imagine if they didn't verify their experts. Mind you some don't and other hide behind ignorance. But the buck stops with the top guy no matter who made the mistake. And we hence read about CEOs having to resign all the time.

  86. Greg Says:

    No way do they need to. They need to have a strong vision and know how to control people – even those who might be smarter than them. Jobs comes to mind, he didn't know all the tech but had the vision and direction many geniuses didn't.

    All about presenting confidence at all times.

    Public speaking is important (and terrifying) too :)
    My recent post The Maddest Guy I’ve Met in Blogging Shares How to Grow Your Twitter to 4K

  87. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me Greg, apart from the word control. Leaders don't control, they lead:-) But most so called leaders today are in fact managers and control.

  88. Oksana Frewer Says:

    I know that the higher the person is in an organisation structure, the more information he has, but it is less detailed, so, on the bottom of any organisation triangle are people who have less info, but this information is incredibly detailed. On the tip of this triangle is the leader with 100% information from levels below, but this info is less detailed.
    My recent post Halo Effect & Devil Effect in web design

  89. catarinaalexon Says:

    Interesting points, Oksana. Presumably you agree that a leader doesn't have to know everything.?:-)

  90. maxwell ivey Says:

    Hello; this was a good post. I think the best examples of leaders who suffer by trying to know everything or competing with their staff are owners of professional sports teams. just look at jerry jones of the cowboys the late al davis of the raiders and to an extent early in his ownership dan shnider of the redskins. when i was in the boy scouts the leaders first goal was to teach the new scouts how we put up tents how we cleaned and put them away after a weekend trip etc. thanks for the post. keep up the hard work, max

    My recent post Learning from leaders of the amusement industry interview with Troy Powe of Wonder Jump

  91. Susan P Cooper Says:

    There is a saying to look for and hire staff that is better then you are. What that means is you already get that you will never know everything and need good people that can and will provide answers when they're needed.The problem is egos get in the way, to both look for and hire the right staff and if that they do, allow them to do what they do best. Just my thoughts. :-)
    My recent post Meadowcroft Wines 2011 Chardonnay: Wine

  92. Mark Brody Says:

    This topic hits very close to home for me Catarina! It's not what you know, its knowing what needs to be done. I know people who think it is more important to be the "smartest" person in a meeting. It's unnecessary.

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!!
    My recent post Nothing's Impossible

  93. catarinaalexon Says:

    Thank you, Mark. Glad you agree with me.

  94. catarinaalexon Says:

    Exactly, Susan. Have personally hired people who know what I don't know and have positive experiences from doing so. Pity far too many people are ruled by their egos.

  95. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree, Cassi.

  96. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you like my article, Maxwell. Personally don't know anything about sports teams, so I don't know if you are right about their owners. Am Swedish but despite the fact that I have lived and worked all over the world I'm not familiar with the American teams you mention.

  97. yearwoodcom Says:

    Well said Catarina. I can think of few things more futile than a leader who thinks they must know as much as all of those around her. Even more foolish is if they think they need to know more. It is not only pointless, it is counter productive. Eventually the tension it creates means that the team closest to the leader can only ever be a good as the sum of her parts…what a waste.
    My recent post Ask for the Order

  98. catarinaalexon Says:

    Yes it's a pity that far too many people believe they have to know everything, isn't it Debra. It has a negative impact on the organisation, and not to forget, themselves. Aiming for something impossible is futile.

  99. JeriWB Says:

    Of course a leader doesn't need to know everything. Strength comes from knowing how to utilize resources and people to stay abreast of information. Montaigne's medal that he wore around his neck stated, "What do I know?" Or to quote a source from pop culture, the song "Snow" by Red Hot Chili Peppers states, "The more I see, the less I know." I despise people who profess to know everything. Teachers are expected to have all the answers. I used to really like throwing students off guard by admitting when I didn't know something, but then showing them how to come up with the answer.
    My recent post The Will to Change: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  100. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me, Jeri. Good points you make. Love how you used to throw students off guard.:-)

  101. Jan Sannerstam Says:

    Yes Information is power !!!

  102. catarinaalexon Says:

    Jan, if by that you mean being aware, affirmative. But no human being in the world is able to know everything.

  103. patweber Says:

    Being a leader is not knowing everything about everything but instead surrounding yourself with people who know a lot about one thing that is relevant to your own business. Unfortunately, in particular with solo entrepreneurs, I think there is a tendency to believe you have to know it all. And sometimes it's the issue of the need to be in control. Either can hold a leader back from moving forward whether you have people on your staff who can help or people who you sub work out to. Pull people up and they will push you along to lead them. Always good Catarina.

    My recent post Make Your List: People Who Lead Introvert Conversations on Twitter

  104. catarinaalexon Says:

    Glad you agree with me, Pat. Good points you make, although I think quite a few "leaders" in multinational corporations also want to give the impression they know it all, unfortunately.

  105. andleebakhlaqkhan Says:

    I personally believe that the leader must have a vision and courage to take the initiative and resolve the issues…

    No one in world is perfect and surely a leader can never be….
    But he must try to be a better man.

  106. catarinaalexon Says:

    Good, and true, points, Andleeb.

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