Leadership Tip of the Week: Being Open-Minded

The battle was over. It was rough.

It was touch and go for most of it. We were greatly outnumbered and had flirted with disaster on several occasions, but we were successful in the end. Fortunately, it was a simulated battle designed to prepare us for the real thing. The Army uses simulations to help units get ready for combat. They are an effective means of making sure soldiers are ready for the conflicts ahead.

As the simulated battle ended, I couldn’t help but think about how great of a leadership development experience this exercise had been. This prompted me to start thinking about how this could be replicated in the college classroom in order to create a leadership development experience. Fast forward three years, I am now using customized simulations in college classes to help students develop their leadership skills.

Leaders need to be open-minded. They need to break out of their normal thinking patterns to find innovative ideas. A leader does this by being ready for anything and acknowledging that they don’t have all of the answers. Being open-minded allows leaders to see things from a different perspective or how things can be applied in new and novel ways. Leaders can find opportunities or opportunities can find leaders  . . . as long as the leader is open to them.

Keep an open mind and be ready; opportunities will find you where you least expect them.

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September 20, 2021 at 7:47 pm
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Some individuals are predisposed to enjoy new experiences or ideas, however, anyone can develop their skills of open-mindedness. It is a process that involves not only your own efforts at being accepting and welcoming of new suggestions, but also of creating an environment where your direct reports are willing to volunteer their ideas. Be patient – it takes time for mutual trust and understanding to form between leaders and employees. Attempting to force or rush the process is likely to backfire, derailing your progress. Be respectful: As you begin to develop your open-mindedness, you may find that you need to “fake it ‘til you make it”. In this case, the easiest step to take to begin being more open is to be respectful when others offer to share ideas with you. Allow the other person time to make their suggestion, never belittle or insult an idea, and thank them for their input. Being open-minded does not mean taking every suggestion given to you, but it does mean taking every suggestion seriously.


Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.