Learned Helplessness

I bet you’ve heard, or yourself said, “that’s just the way we do it.”

This is said in response to whenever someone questions how something is being done. We often respond by pointing out the constraints that have led us to do it that way. “You can’t do this or that and so we do it this way.”

I was sent a terrific article from the Harvard Business Review. In it, Ron Ashkenas talks about the ways that we give in to the status quo in our organization. Here is part of it that stood out to me:

All managers face real constraints. Effective managers differentiate between those that must be accepted and those that can be challenged.

There’s so sense continuing to run into a closed door. However, there are many times we need to realize that there might be ways to open the door. It is the effective leaders that are able to distinguish between the two of these. In my experience, there are far more times that the second scenario is applicable than we might think.

Click here to read the full article.

Have you learned helplessnes? It might be possible to open that door slammed shut in front of you.

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Jeremy Jernigan

This is the personal blog of Jeremy Jernigan husband, father, executive pastor, and student of truth

4 Comments

Romi

about 2 years ago

Great article Jeremy...thanks for sharing! And yep...good 'ol learned helplessness theory originally from by psychologist Martin Seligman back in 1967. I did my college thesis on this topic...really interesting stuff! Here's the link to Seligman's book on the topic http://www.amazon.com/Learned-Helplessness-Theory-Personal-Control/dp/0195044673

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jeremy

about 2 years ago

I never knew that Romi! Thanks for the link!

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Gomer

about 2 years ago

Six years into managing my store and I'm STILL finding areas that were previously closed to me opening up, just by collaborating with my staff and leaders and relooking at things already reviewed! Took some time to break past that helplessness though and realize you can do more than you've been taught.

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jeremy

about 2 years ago

I know what you are feeling. 7 years into my leadership at Central and I feel exactly the same way.

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