Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie presented The Danger of a Single Story in 2009 at TEDGlobal.
It addresses something at the heart your posture as a leader. Every leader should be humble, teachable, curious, and intentional because if you lead from that posture, it creates an environment that encourages transformation in the lives of those you lead.
What is so important about these four characteristics? How do they positively affect your leadership?
The way we understand the world, God, ourselves, and one another is limited by our own stories. We all have an innate desire to limit the amount of information we take in, and to rely on a small amount of knowledge to inform a broad range of understanding. We can sometimes get caught in thinking we understand another person because we have a small exposure to their world through a person we know or a story we heard. But that's a narrow view. It's a single story.
To lead well, we have to resist the urge to live by a single story. It's the only way we can lead with a spirit humility that we don’t have a the full picture, a spirit of teachability to be open to new ideas and perspectives, a spirit of curiosity to learn more about the story in front of us and ask probing questions, and a spirit of intentionality to always pursue learning and growth, and not just passively wait for it to happen.
That's what can make us the kind of leaders who build trust in the people we serve. If we broaden our perspectives we'll be authentically curious about other's lives, and open to learning and growing through our relationships with others . . . including the people we lead.
Note: Chimamanda’s talk is just under 19 minutes, but it is well worth the time.