How Open Minded Are You?

Being open minded keeps us curious. When we are curious, we never stop learning new things, or finding new ways.

A highly effective leader loves to ask questions, especially of their own teammates. They do this to prompt their teammate to think deeper than they normally would. So, they type of question they would ask would be a probing question.

1. Learning Opportunities

This is also an opportunity for the highly effective leader to learn, as we have just discussed. When there is a problem, they question their teammates so that they can come to a solution as a team, not as an individual.

This requires the team to share their ideas, and not be satisfied until they come to the best solution possible. Not just any old solution.

A low performing leader will go out their way to find a solution to a problem on their own. They do this so that they look the best compared to everyone else in the team. They crave the attention of their line manager and others in their department.

They see this as a way to compete with everyone else, rather than work together as a team. By providing a solution on their own, they are expecting to get all the credit for it. This is a very close minded way to work when you are part of a team.

They can’t have another team member provide a solution to the same problem, because it will take away any credit that they wanted. So, it ends up not being a team at all, it is just a group of individuals.

2. No Comparisons

When it comes to highly effective leaders, there is no comparison between anyone. Everyone is on a level playing field. Everyone’s ideas, opinions, and solutions will always be listened to and considered. A highly effective leader is not searching to get credit from anyone.

However, they do get a lot of credit for when the team achieves a great result. The great thing is though, they pass credit on to the rest of the team and share it.

As they are humble, they share everything they get with their teammates so that everyone feels part of the achievement. That is how a highly effective leader raises their team up.

When I was in my early 20’s, and going through university whilst working for Liverpool’s train operating company, I was intent on being an autonomous person. Especially when it came to my work, as I thought that being autonomous was a sign of strength to my teammates, and to my boss.

I was making progress on what I was working on, and increasing my influence when I could, and I was continuing to build relationships throughout the organisation. If I needed help from somebody, I wasn’t afraid to ask.

3. Accept Help From Others

But that was where I ended it. I resisted any offer of help from people, because I was of the frame of mind that accepting help from someone was a sign of weakness. Why would I need help from someone if I was continuing to make improvements each day, make progress in my work, and feeling good about myself?

I couldn’t allow myself to show weakness to my teammates or my boss, otherwise they might think differently of me. When actually, not accepting the help and thinking that it was a sign of weakness, was actually a sign of weakness in itself. But, at the time I thought it was a sign of strength.

It wasn’t until I had my graduate mentoring session with Ron that we discussed my progress, and my thoughts for the previous month that I started to think differently from then on. I was advising Ron on the work I had been doing and improving the performance of the trains, and he seemed really happy.

He then asked me, “How has Tom been doing and feeling since we last met?” I said, “I’ve been fine, and I’ve been working autonomously like you told me to.”

He replied, “That’s good, have your team been helping you too?” I was confused, “I thought autonomous meant you don’t need the team. I thought this was my time to show what I could do.”

Ron’s answer to that was, “Absolutely not Tom. That is not what I meant. You are working on becoming a leader, leaders need their team to help them. If you didn’t have teammates then you wouldn’t be able to lead.”

When my session with Ron finished, I was so disappointed in myself that I had gotten completely the wrong idea to what Ron had told me. He told me to be autonomous, meaning I can work alone when it was absolutely necessary. But it doesn’t mean you can neglect your team, or refuse to receive their help when it was offered.

Over the next few days, I thought about Ron’s words again and again. Instead feeling like I was showing strength by working autonomously, I now felt bad and weak. Why would I think that I can do something better on my own, instead of working with the help of my teammates? It was eating me up.

I was trying to be positive through being autonomous, and when somebody offered me help, I rejected it in a nice way, so I wasn’t being nasty to anyone. But, I wasn’t thinking about how I made others feel. They might not have shown it, but I’m pretty sure my rejection of help would have hit a nerve with the teammate who was offering.

I wanted to get to the bottom of why I was thinking in this way. Why did I not accept any help from my teammates? Why did I think I could do things better on my own? Why did I neglect my teammates? Why had I stopped listening to people?

I spent quite some time thinking about these questions and I was determined to get to the answers.

4. Open Up Your Mind

This reflection on these questions carried on when I went home from work. They were constantly in my thoughts. So, I asked my Dad what he thought. Straight away he said, “You are being close minded Tom. You’re rejecting things from people because you are seeing things very narrowly. You need to be more open minded.”

That was it. My Dad was so right. I was behaving in a very close minded manner. The same way a low performing leader behaves. It was like I was competing with my other teammates on who shows the most strength.

If I was the most autonomous out of everyone, then I would think I was the strongest member of the team. When actually, I was the weakest by not working together with my teammates.

I had gotten to the bottom of it, I was being close minded. I decided then that I would be open minded in the future and always include my teammates. Especially when it came to making decisions or coming to solutions to problems.

Being close minded to your teammates gives them a very negative impression, even if you think you’re being positive. Not listening to other people’s ideas because you don’t think you need them is also very negative, and can actually create distrust within the team, which was caused by you.

So, we must be open minded if we want to continue building relationships.

What I had done was a huge mistake on my part, and I needed to admit that to the team. I needed to stop giving people the impression that I was a negative person too. So, being open minded was one thing, but I had to turn it around that when somebody approached me, I came across in a positive way.

I figured out how I could do that, by accepting help, listening to ideas, and sharing my own with the whole team. It all comes down to sharing with your team.

A team of brains is better than one brain. So keep that in mind when you are at your next team meeting.

Learning from mistakes is the only way you will become successful, no matter what it is you are doing.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

28 thoughts on “How Open Minded Are You?

  1. Hi Tom,

    I can relate to your story. I had once thought seeking help was a sign of weakness, so I do things myself too. Then I realised it was a rather selfish move and when I finally reached out, they found a few blindspots I would have never spotted.

    A team works better and we do have to be open minded in hearing out, to improve as an individual and as a team.

    Great article once more, Tom!

    Cheers.
    SAM

    1. Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you can relate to my story, that was my purpose for sharing it.

      You are so right, reaching out for help is being a lot less selfish and when others can see blind spots that you can’t see then you know it is worth it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Hi Tom! your article is great and it makes me think on one of the biggest problems I had, especially at the beginning: accepting help from others! But it is a crucial point if you want to succeed!

    1. Hi Rosalia,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable and that it makes you think.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and that you overcame your problem.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Hi Tom! Im glad I know your website now and reading your new article!
    Thanks for sharing this useful information, I personally haven’t been a leader yet, but I working as a memeber of team and see that our chef usually doesn’t ask about ideas we could suggest, and I always think sad about it. I think that the cooperation with your team is very important.
    Have a great one,
    Alex

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased you like the website and found the article valuable.

      You are so right, your head chef should be listening to your ideas. So, don’t give up on him and when you have ideas, make sure you talk to him about them. He will listen if you don’t give up. I have had the same thing happen to me but I remained persistent.

      Keep me updated on how you get on with him, and if you need any help then get in touch.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Hello Tom, I agree with the fact that if we want to continue to build relationships, we should remain open minded.

    Certainly in my area of work, sometimes asking for support constantly can be seen as incompetency. However, what I have realised is that I shouldn’t approach for help with a blank canvas. I do a little bit of research and then ask for clarification.

    Do you think this is a good approach?

    1. Hi A ekufaa,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you agree with the article.

      I think your approach is really good. Doing your research and knowing all that you need to know before you ask for help is very important. Asking for help will also continue to build on your relationships and build trust because you are putting your trust in the people you are asking for help. So, keep going with it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hi Tom,

    I think it is easy to start to think that we need to do everything on our own. Because maybe it seems more noble. Or because it can be hard to accept help. Or it seems selfish to accept help, but it isn’t. But you get farther in life and at work if you accept help.

    -Amanda

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found the article helpful.

      You are right that lots of us think that doing things on our own is better, when actually working with others and accepting help is a lot better. As you have read, I thought accepting help was a weakness, but actually it is the exact opposite. Keep it going.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. This is awesome Tom! Have you ever read “mindset” by Carol Dweck. A lot of the points you make here remind me of the lessons in that book. Thanks so much for a refresher!

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that this article has refreshed your mind.

      I’ve not read the book “mindset” but I have heard about it. Maybe I’ll make it as my next one on the list as I’m currently reading “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek. I can highly recommend that book to you.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Hello Tom. Thank you once again for a great article. Sometimes an entrepreneur or leader would believe asking for assistance is not just a sign of weakness, but also being inadequate. A lesson I learnt long ago was that if you ( no matter who you are or your position ) want to succeed, find people that are better than you in a specific field/subject and learn from them ( or even better, hire them ! )
    We are not meant to be experts in every conceivable field/topic, but finding people that are the ” experts “, will allow your business to grow and flourish.

    1. Hi Felicity,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you have found the article valuable.

      I totally agree, learning from others who have more experience than you is imperative I have found. I have done exactly the same as you have and I could recommend this to anybody too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. This is a great article Tom it does make you think of a lot of weaknesses leaders may not be aware of. I really like that you addressed being open minded as this is a game changer. Open-minded people can see different perspectives to most things and this increases creativity. I also love that you mention that leaders should be humble. I have always believed in the adage, you should stoop to conquer. Humility brings you to an approachable level with your team, as a result you will get more out of them. Great read, all-in-all. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate that you found the article helpful.

      I agree that being open minded can increase creativity and see things from different perspectives, which is absolutely necessary when it comes to leadership. Humility is the difference between being arrogant and confident and again is absolutely necessary in leadership.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. Hi Tom,

    A very insightful and informative read.

    You very much remind me of myself, especially during my early banking career.

    Just reading your initial experiences of resisting help from others, as you thought it may be deemed as a sign of weakness is very much what I was like.

    In fact, I had to learn this the hard way. I would go out of my way as to not show any “weakness” even if it was to the detriment of not only myself, but the team in general.

    A very painful lesson to learn, but one I had to learn quickly.

    Your dad sounds like a very wise man, although I’m sure if I knew him, he’d have a few choice words for me too (especially when I was younger).

    A great read as always
    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your comment as always. I’m pleased that the article reminded you of your earlier career and how you have came a long since then.

      I think a lot of younger people will feel that asking for help would be a sign of weakness, so we need to teach them that it is actually a sign of strength. This should be taught in schools and universities along with lots more human skills.

      My Dad is a very wise man, and he would have helped you too I have no doubt.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

    1. Hi Isabella,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found the article helpful.

      It is my pleasure to help you and others become better leaders. I completely agree that to be better leaders then we must be accepting of help from others.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

    1. Hi Joe,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased that the article resonated with you.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  10. Hi Tom,
    You have collected some great stuff. We have to be open minded in all the time. Especially in leading position, or as an entrepreneurs. Everyone working as self-employed has to have the flexibility and the open mind to adapt to the new things. If you won;t, you’ll be struggling. I love that you put your own experiences, as examples, so people can more relate to the actual topic. Let’s hope we all will be able to listen other people’s ideas and not just close. Great work and all the best for the future!
    Julius

    1. Hi Julius,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I completely agree that as a leader or as an entrepreneur, then we must always be open minded, and we must listen to our people.

      I hope lots of people come to this site too, I really appreciate your support.

      All the best,

      Tom

  11. Hi Tom,
    This was an excellent read, thank you!
    I believe I’m open-minded, though I do work by myself. But that’s the result of being an online marketer, lol.
    I want to believe that if I ever get to the point where I hire a team, that I’d want all of us to work as a team. I especially liked your saying “A team of brains is better than one brain”.
    I’m sure many of your readers will be inspired by your article.
    Cheers,
    Suzanne

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that the article resonated with you.

      I totally get that working as an online marketer means working alone a lot of the time, but the fact to you engage with other online marketers, like you are right now tells me that you are very open minded. You want to help others aswell as helping yourself.

      Keep up the amazing work you do and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  12. Dear Tom,

    Thanks for this interesting article. It is good to know that there still people that promote team work and an open minded way of working.

    I am trying my self to be like this on my working environment, but in many cases I have found it impossible.

    1. Hi Anestis,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article interesting.

      I’m so pleased you are trying to be more open minded too, keep working on yourself and if you need any further help or advice then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      All the best,

      Tom

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