Thursday, May 23, 2013

LEAD BY EXAMPLE Part 6: Be Aware Of Your Own Assumptions

In Part 5 of this "Lead by Example" series, I discussed the importance of asking good questions. In this post, I cover how essential it is to be sure you're aware of the assumptions underlying everything you do or say.

Being aware of how your own assumptions affect every situation is an essential trait of good followers and influential leaders alike. Here’s an example. A manager came to me about the problems she was experiencing because of her supervisor’s micro-managing style on a recent project. She assumed he didn’t trust her, so she reacted to every question and interaction defensively. Getting things accomplished was painful for both. 

I suggested an alternative way to view this situation. Perhaps this project was really important to her boss and he gave it to her because he trusted her to do a good job, even though he remained anxious about the project’s outcome. When she began relating to him from this assumption, their relationship turned around. She realized that her assumption of her boss’s lack of confidence in her ability was feeding his anxiety and insecurity. They started enjoying working together and got much accomplished in record time.

Links to all the other posts in this "Lead By Example" series:

•   Introduction
•   Be Honest
•   Be supportive 
•   Be reliable
•   Always seek to understand the big picture
•   Ask good questions
•   Practice integrity

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This post was excerpted from “Lead by Example,” by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in American Executive June 2009

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