Don’t be a know-it-all, be a learn-it-all

From WeAreTheCity’ Future Leader’s blog


Don’t be a know-it-all be a learn–it–all”

Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft

 As leaders and influencers we are always learning, we can’t possibly have all the answers, how could we know everything? Yet so many leaders think they have to have all the answers. When leaders are comfortable and confident with who they are, they are OK with learning rather than feeling they have to know it all.

It is like kids at school – if one of them is a know-it-all and the other is a learn-it-all, the learn-it-all will always do better than the other one even if the know-it-all starts with more capability because they are demonstrating a desire to learn. This desire to learn creates inspiring Leadership, where others want to follow on the journey with that Leader.

It comes back to our emotional intelligence and our ability to be humble. As leaders we want to:

  • Create a learning culture, one that encourages and allows others to learn
  • Remember that if we don’t keep learning we stop growing. And with the speed of change in our ever changing world we can’t possibly be complacent and stop learning.

We are not saying you don’t need knowledge, of course you do, but it is how you use that knowledge and continue to gain it that is the differentiating factor in the future and how you will be more successful.

This desire to learn creates engaged followership, who wants to follow a know-it-all?

What learning culture are you creating?

What behaviours do you want to role model – those of a know-it-all or a learn-it–all?

Start learning more today; be inquisitive, be courageous! It is endearing and others will want to follow you. Not many people want to follow a know-it-all. After all, what can you learn from them if they don’t keep learning?




About the authors

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book at

Praise for ”Leading Teams”: I bought in from the first paragraph; ten chapters of real and practical examples on how to lead a team with characters skilfully portraying the tensions faced by leaders every day. A leadership masterclass.

Lynn Hill, Deputy CEO, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Turst, Hertfordshire.

Author: Mandy and Elisabet

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *