"Ignorant" is Not an Insult

Being ignorant is morally neutral.


Ignorant is a loaded word, to be sure, and I don't recommend referring to your colleague this way. However, I want to try to reclaim the term from the land of insults and redefine it as simply a descriptor of reality, and a helpful one at that.

  • Being ignorant means you're self-aware, and therefore less likely to harm others with unearned confidence.

  • Being ignorant means you're human, and there are limitations to your knowledge. There's no shame in acknowledging that.

  • Being ignorant means you're humble. It is impossible to learn what you already think you know, and remaining a life-long learner is a sustainable competitive advantage.

Of course, being ignorant can also mean that you're unqualified and unwilling to put in the work. So there's that too. Beware the person who refuses to acknowledge their ignorance or seems especially disinterested in addressing it.


As leaders, it's our responsibility to be self-aware of our limitations and work diligently to either close the gap or staff around them.


Being ignorant is morally neutral. Choosing what to do with that fact makes all the difference.

At Trellis Group, we believe chaos is the enemy of the small business. It's our mission to partner with small business owners and their teams to develop the managerial practices and processes to crush chaos. If you feel overwhelmed and need a proven system to focus on the next best thing, we can help. Companies who work with us see revenues go up, anxiety go down, and work becomes a force multiplier for good in the lives of your people. Reach out to discover how the Trellis Group can help you crush chaos.

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