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Good CEOs Must Admit When They Don’t Know

Some of the most highly respected CEOs are the best at revealing their “noviceness” and opening themselves up to acquiring the emerging skills and knowledge most necessary to their success, according to the Harvard Business Review.

“In fact, research increasingly supports the idea that CEO openness to and about new experiences is highly correlated with organizational effectiveness.”

Here are the keys to being successful as a novice when you’re running the show:

Be great at the core of your job: “If a leader starts by demonstrating that he or she is excellent in many of the core skills and capabilities needed to lead, the people surrounding that person will have confidence that he or she will be able to learn the rest of what’s needed, and will see that person’s openness to learning as a positive thing.”

Recognize the inevitability of “being bad first”: “We love to be good at things. Especially once we get to be adults and have experienced some level of mastery, we don’t ever want to go back to being novices. Sadly, though, every time we need to learn something new, we’ll be bad at it when we begin. That’s just how it works.”

Get good at being a novice in public: “This is where the rubber meets the road for a CEO. Having to show your noviceness in public when you’re wanting to be seen as a competent and powerful leader can feel awkward and even a little scary. However, if you can be courageous enough to ask that first ‘novice’ question in public, I can almost guarantee you’ll find your fears aren’t justified.”