It all became a silly a game some things cannot be bought;
Running, rushing back for more, I suffered fools so gladly;
I was watching a video that shared a top-10-type list of good leadership and self-awareness traits. I’ve heard most of them before (be true to your strengths, you must execute, etc.).
One of the suggestions was the simple missive it is OK to change your mind. For some reason, this stood out to me and hit me over the head. I don’t believe I’ve seen this on a standard list.
Let that sink in. It is OK to change your mind.
I had to ask myself why this simple suggestion impacted me so much. Upon reflection, in my career, I’ve noticed professionals have a very difficult time backing up a point of view with, “You know what, I’ve changed my mind.”
Why? Because in our profession, one where influence is king and successful pros demonstrate innate leadership skills, we can spend a lot of time trying to convince others of strategic recommendations, technological recommendations, and the most impactful one – people recommendations. We influence decisions where people’s lives will be impacted. We influence decisions on who to hire, who to promote and who to terminate. Some of this is heady stuff.
To get some points across, good leaders, in HR and other roles, have to research, form an opinion, and in many cases be stubborn (passionate) about that recommendation. We have to continue to poke the bear until we are heard.
But what if your data changes?
What if a life event changes your perspective?
What if a business event changes your perspective?
What if you determined your original recommendation was just plain wrong?
Many are afraid to go back and unveil their new “truth”. I mean, “What will people think if I backtrack after defending my point of view for the last 5 years.” It’s easier to keep beating your old drum for fear of losing credibility. It’s really easy if the status quo you are defending doesn’t impact you directly.
However, doing what is right is often hard. Admitting you’ve changed your mind can be too. But it’s not anathema and it’s not something you need to overthink. You do need to still explain why your mind has changed with examples.
So I charge all of you to practice saying, “I’ve changed my mind.” It feels weird, doesn’t it? But it is freeing, shows some courage, and can be a powerful demonstration of authenticity. Maybe in the next 5 years, all top-10 leadership lists will incorporate this simple trait. Of course, by then I may change my mind on that suggestion.
Dawn Burke, founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, most recently serving as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at DawnHBurke.com and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.