Ignorant or Oblivious Leaders

Is there any real difference?

Are You Ignorant or Oblivious?

Did you have a chance yet to read my article on the importance of “thinking” from last week? If not, I think it is well worth the few moments to step back and read that one first to get a baseline.

Just like that old saying that I found in an old frame, I know that there are some things that I know. And I know there are some things that I don’t know. The problem is that there are potentially a lot of things that I don’t know that I don’t know. Do you know?

That sounds almost like a line from a Gilbert & Sullivan musical. For those of you who are not theater buffs or who are under the age of 50, go “Google it.”

There were a lot of comments sparked and conversations started about the importance of knowledge and awareness of our own leadership situation. And those comments and conversations have caused me to want to take another look at this issue of ignorance and obliviousness.

There is a difference

For me, it is easy to assign the category of “Ignorance” to those who know that there are things that they don’t know. The word, ignorance, has taken on a cultural meaning that is etymologically incorrect. The dictionary defines ignorance with words such as; unaware, inexperience, illiteracy, unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge. It does not assume that an individual is incapable or lacking the capacity to become aware, experienced, literate, familiar or knowledgeable. Indeed, it is society and culture (and ultimately, me) that makes that assumption about someone’s abilities.

But the category of “Oblivious” may best be described as being occupied by someone who does not even know what they do not know. And here I would go further and suggest that many in this category have no desire to depart from the land of oblivion and enter the land of those diligently seeking to gain awareness, experience, literacy, familiarity and knowledge. It is perhaps these that are the ones that are blissful. For to be in the ignorant camp, as noted above, is to sense that you are lacking in certain areas of your life. And it is that sense that drives us to learn and to explore and seek to become a better leader. Seeking and learning can be hard. There will be successes and failures along the way. But the process is a journey and every step takes us closer to our desired destination.

How about you?

How about you? Are you seeking or driven to become a better leader? If so, what are you doing? How are you going about accomplishing that?

I invite you and I urge you to share with us those things that you are doing to develop your leadership skills and potential.

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.