If you read Part I of this blog series, you know that I have fallen in love with this meme based on a character from the hit Netflix show, Ozark:
When I wrote Part I, I felt a little empty, having not fully written all of my thoughts about the phrase, “I Don’t Know Sh*t about F**K.”
In Part II, the focus is on how this meme relates to how leaders become great.
I could spend hours talking about all of the ways people can build their leadership skills, and honestly, I do spend hours talking about it in The University of New Orleans PaCE Leadership and Teams Development Course I teach (yes, shameless pitch for the course…).
I digress…Great leaders learn, over time, how to balance displaying confidence with humility. They do not have to prove they are the smartest person in the room, and they know that actually, they do not need to BE the smartest person in the room. They know the power of “I don’t know sh*t about f**k.”
My Dad went to Harvard as a post-doctoral fellow. Not a lot of people know that. Why? Because my Dad was confident, giving, compassionate, humble and, well, smart; he didn’t feel the need to open a dialogue by showcasing his accomplishments. He connected with authenticity.
The first thing Dad generally shared with others had nothing to do with his educational pedigree. He shared something deeply personal to him – he told new connections that he was born in Moss Point, MS, “The Cross Roads of the World,” according to him.
There were a lot of factors that played into his luxury of not needing to brag about his educational prowess – let’s face it – even though he did not come from a highly privileged background – he was a white male born in the 1940’s! Those factors aside, he actively chose not to initiate relationships with the “Harvard fact” rolling off of his tongue.
Dad, or Jim, as I often refer to him now, loved people. He loved talking to them (ok, sometimes AT them), forming life-long relationships and, most of all, doing anything in his power to help others succeed.
Sound familiar? Sound like a skill of a great leader? You are right. He was a master of letting other people shine, raising them up and coaching them to success. Could he drive you crazy? Sure. Did he have your back? Always. More enviable traits of great leadership!
Dad believed in using the idea of “I Don’t Know Sh*t about F**K” to encourage other people to talk, share ideas and to remain personally curious. He used it to help others gain confidence and promote themselves.
When I was young, he would tell me to pretend he didn’t know anything about the subject we were discussing, and he would have me “teach” it to him like I was the expert. Again, what stellar leadership he demonstrated to me.
If you couldn’t tell from the use of the past tense in referring to him, my Dad passed away. His death left a giant hole in my heart but inspired me to share with as many people as possible the ways in which he learned to be a great leader.
I challenge you to honor the phrase that my father employed to create enormous impact on those lucky enough to be under his wing.
Embrace “I Don’t Know Sh*t about F**K.” Look for opportunities when you can help others shine and be the experts in the room. Build your Executive Presence and display confidence balanced with humility to lead others to success.
If you haven’t already figured it out, my parents are in the featured image of this post. Dad CLEARLY never took himself too seriously…
Reach out to Kimberly at Kimberly@KimberlyPutmanCoaching.com to learn more about Leadership Development, Executive or ADHD Coaching.