Learning from Others

About 2000 years ago, Confucius, the wisest man in China, told us:” when I walk along with two others, they may serve as my teachers.”

If Confucius thinks there is always someone to learn from, there is no reason for an ordinary person like myself not to do so.

Actually if you are paying attention to what other people are saying, doing and working on, you may find that the routine working day all of a sudden becomes intriguing and enlightening.

Reflecting on today’s work and meeting, I realized that I have three “teachers” who each taught me something.

One is a senior leader that recently joined our company; one is my Executive Coach, and the third one is a team member.

1. (the leader) “when it comes to collaboration, we need to respect each other’s experience, cultural and educational background. We are all different and that is okay. What we are trying to achieve is to find the shared commonality and work towards the same goal together. Throughout the process, we all need to put the ego aside and identify the common ground. At the end of the day it all comes down to “people dynamics”. Let’s treat people as people first and then find solutions that can help us achieve the common goal.”

2. (the coach) “It’s a fact that it’s always harder for women to get the equal career advancement opportunities as men do, but never lose your confidence. You are the one who is driven, strategic, experienced, talented and capable. You are just as good as any other man out there. Continue to work towards the ambitious goal you set for yourself. Believe me, you will get it, it’s just the matter of time.”

3. (the team member) ” when it comes to the designing of a communications campaign, let’s not be naive and think we know what employees want or think. We need to be realistic with the context that we are in and position our communication initiative accordingly. Those inspiring words and posters won’t hit employees’ heart if their managers are not actually leading by examples.” This is remarkably true. We should not lose touch with people that we serve. The key is to design the right campaign for the right reason and speak the right language to the right audience.

No, you don’t need to be humble to learn from others. You just need to know that it’s okay to admit that you don’t necessarily know everything. No one is supposed to know everything, assuming that your name is neither Wikipedia nor cyclopedia.

As long as you learn, you will grow; as soon you grow, you will realize there is more to learn. It’s a never-ending game.

“Love as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live tomorrow. ”

– Mahatma Gandhi

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