We are all looking for progression in our life and career and so often the focus is on development, on learning new skills and utilising all of our experience to grow and develop. However, I came across this article and felt it was a really refreshing and alternate view on what is really important as we progress.
One thing I see from the highest potential candidates I work with is a real appreciation of what change is needed and when, and a constant demonstration of the agility needed to implement that change as they progress into different roles with different responsibilities.
One example of this could be a promotion from a sales leadership position to a general leadership position. It is just as important that leaders take on board everything they have learned during their career to that point, but also that they understand what they need to forget to have maximum influence in their new position. Some examples of what to forget could be;
- Leadership style
Sales teams tend to be lead in different ways, with a change in role comes a potential change in leadership style. The old method may need to be forgotten.
The culture leaders often try to cultivate in a sales team may not be healthy in the broader business. Past experiences may need to be forgotten.
As a leader progresses and their responsibility increases the amount of control they have often decreases. They have to forget the amount of control they had in previous positions and delegate more effectively.
This is just a few examples where leaders have to forget in addition to learning new skills. In a post covid world I personally see agility as one of the key traits of a successful leader and organisation. The ability to adapt, to learn in addition to forgetting will be essential in leaders moving their organisations forward in a successful direction.
But what’s often overlooked on a leader’s journey to the top is the act of unlearning; distancing yourself from some of the assumptions and behaviors that got you where you are now, but that will no longer serve you in a senior executive role.