6 Assumptions Leaders Make That Hinder Their Effectiveness

by | Feb 8, 2024

(…they may surprise you…)

As leaders—even very experienced leaders—we can make assumptions or believe things that are unhelpful or even damaging.

Let’s save you the trouble of discovering these the hard way!

Here are 6 common assumptions leaders make that can hinder their effectiveness:

  1. Thinking everyone likes to work at a fast pace.

Leaders often process information very quickly and prefer to move at a fast pace.

But not everyone does. And that can be a good thing.

When  these differences aren’t recognized and accommodated by the leader, it can create unnecessary conflict and misunderstandings.

The truth: People work at different paces, and there are benefits to all working styles.

2. Assuming others want to constantly learn new things and be challenged.

Many leaders love learning new things and often get bored very easily when things aren’t challenging them.

Not everyone likes the pressure of constantly learning something new or dealing with complex challenges. They prefer to master a few things. And that may be perfect for their role on the team.

The truth: Don’t assume that your personal values or natural wiring are the same as those you lead. Get to know their values/natural wiring and work with them accordingly.

3. Micromanaging processes and projects is the best way to ensure quality.

Micromanaging is one of the best ways to demotivate employees. It doesn’t serve you as the leader, the team member, or the results you’re working toward.

The truth: People are capable if they are equipped. Focus your attention on training and coaching your team members to be effective in leading their own processes and projects.

4. Confusing perfectionism with excellence.

There’s nothing wrong with excellence. We should all strive for that.

Excellence is “the very best you can do with the resources you have available today.”

Perfectionism is a self-defeating pursuit of being flawless, which  is never fully attainable.

The truth: Focus on the best you and your team can do and be. Give permission to yourself and others to learn and grow from mistakes rather than be discouraged by them.

5. Jumping to conclusions without asking enough questions.

We all feel triggered sometimes.

And often we confuse a current situation with a past experience and draw an inaccurate conclusion.

Acting on that conclusion can damage relationships.

The truth: Instead, take a moment to get curious before you jump to conclusions. Question your assumptions. Think about what other perspectives there might be.

6. Because it’s easy for me, it should be easy for everyone.

We all have talents and skillsets that come more easily to us than others.

It’s human nature to assume that if we can do something, others should be able to do it too.

But that’s not the case. And it’s a good thing too! Because others can do things we can’t.

The truth: Everyone has unique skills. Know your own and be curious about others’. Look for ways to use your own strengths and make space for others to use theirs.

If this resonates with you…

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