I must confess that as a female, there are few things I like to hear better than, you are right. It satisfies a need, not unlike scratching a pesky itch.
But the data suggests that I’m probably often wrong (although you can still tell me otherwise and score points if you wish).
Let me explain.
As the lead character in my own story, I am the center of my known universe. As that central character, I am biologically predisposed to relate what I see and what I learn to experiences, beliefs and values that I have. I don’t do this with malice it is how I am built.
In many cases, this perspective helps me, it helps me to more quickly understand and process the world. This ego-centric view can also hold me back, especially if I am not open to the idea that there are other, equally valid, world-views.
Like me, you might also have some invalid assumptions about yourself.
Here are some things that you should know
- It’s possible you think you are smarter than you are (or not as smart depending)
- It’s possible you rate yourself as a better performer (unless you are a high performer)
- It’s possible you consider yourself better looking
- You are probably more generous about intention for yourself than you are for others
- Most certainly you have blind spots about what you think others understand about you, and what they really do.
To be effective leaders, we need to be aware of the risk that our views might be wrong, and put strategies in place to keep them from holding us back.
The first and most obvious strategy is, don’t assume, ask. Ask for feedback, think about what it’s saying. Revisit the feedback when you make new discoveries about yourself and about your world. Use this feedback to learn how others see the world, and find ways to help them understand you better by first understanding them.
The second strategy is to get help from others. Get mentors or coaches who can help you see the world from the perspective of the other person.
In the end, there is a lot more to the advice to walk a mile in their shoes than we probably care to admit.