Recently I memorized Proverb 18:15 in The Message: “Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights”  We might also say unwise men and women stop learning and are no longer interested in, or on the lookout for, fresh insights! Excellent leaders are life-long learners. I want to continue to be one.

Dan Rockwell shares some helpful ideas on the idea of being a smart leader who loves correction rather than one who suffer but not being open to correction.

Guest Post by Dan Rockwell

When you hate correction, you love grappling with the same faults over and over and over. Smart leaders say, “Show me how to improve.”

“Why will no man confess his faults? Because he is still in their grasp…” Seneca, Letters from a Stoic, #53. Solomon said it more directly, “… it is stupid to hate correction.”

Smart leaders love correction.


#1. Show up stupid.

It’s normal to think you’re right. It’s wisdom to show up ready to learn. You need a positive mindset and humble attitude to show up with an open mind. My coaching practice is most effective when I show up to listen and learn. Eagerness to give answers strangles conversations.

#2. Seek help BEFORE you need it.

Stubbornness presses forward and suffers. Seek the voice of experience when you’re making plans, not after. Say, “I’m planning to…. What suggestions do you have for me?” I watch people dangle from the end of their rope because they rushed forward with novice-confidence. Foresight recognizes the value of external voices.

#3. Actively seek to improve.

Don’t say something stupid like, “How can I be better?” What the heck is ‘better’? Be specific. Be actionable. Say, “I’m working on ______. What’s one way I could get better at that?””

#4. Explore how others could be right.

Hard-heads know-it-all. Skillful people learn-it-all. Ask, “How did you come up with that idea?” Or, “What’s important about that decision?” Don’t let ‘brilliance’ cause persistent stupidity.

#5. Say, “Tell me more.”

Skillful leaders listen and learn. Hard heads know and blab. You can be skillful in three one syllable words, “Tell me more.” Set a goal to say, “Tell me more,” before lunch today. “Let us, therefore, rouse ourselves, that we may be able to correct our mistakes.” Seneca

What could you do to love correction today?