The Bad Habits You Learn in School

After spending many years and many dollars attending college, it may be difficult to think that you graduated with bad habits.  In The Bad Habits You Learn in School, John Coleman HBR.com contributor, highlights a few of these habits:

  • A skewed view of authority

We think we’re leaders if we’re the “boss,” and if we’re not the boss, we should simply do as we’re told. In reality, even the most senior people in organizations can’t rely solely on hierarchy, particularly given the much needed talents, experiences, and intelligence of the others who surround them. Leadership is an activity, not a position. . .

  • The search for the “right answer”

Schools also teach us to deal with information as if it is certain and unchanging, when there’s rarely a stable “right answer.” [. . . ] Understanding that there’s rarely one right answer can make a person more adaptive, agile, and open to the thoughts of their peers.

  • Serving only yourself is a losing proposition

Finally, while many schools tell us to serve others, they are rarely structured to actively show us that leadership is serving others.  [. . . ] People follow leaders who care for them, who share their vision, and who are dedicated to serving a cause greater than one’s self.

The takeaway here is that these habits were formed as a result of systemic factors in the education system.  These are not personal failures, so be on the look out for these potential pitfalls and course correct where necessary.

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