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Good morning and happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment.

Let’s talk about, since we’re still in January, those barriers that stand in the way of most leaders becoming better. Last week we talked about Should-Gate and whether or not you’re being prosecuted in it, but now it’s time to start talking about assumptions and the real question is “Are Your Assumptions Fake or Real?” Well, let’s face it, most assumptions are in our head, which to us, makes them feel awfully freaking real, but I’ll give you one simple easy example. I have been a professional speaker for about 30 years and I’ve always said, ‘one should only present without glasses’, (though I’m not sure why I’ve had such an assumption!) but, when you reach a certain age, and you start to discover that you can’t see what participants are writing, or what might be on your notes, should you use any, without glasses, that should, and silly assumption, tends to change. But, why wait until you have evidence that is just so overwhelming or inhibits your ability to do the very job you’re trying to, and frankly are being paid to, start performing. Let’s take a look at some of the more common assumptions that really can be quite damaging.

Only One Way

First and foremost, if you assume there is only one way to go about your position or only one way for the employees you have the privilege of leading to do whatever it is you’re asking of them, that assumption is likely riddled with a lot of falsehoods and quite likely, though it may feel real, is false, fake, and untrue. Consider this, there was a man who believed the only way to hang a picture was a hammer and nail and then along came a product called Command that fills up entire isles of any good hardware store. There’s not only one way to hang a picture anymore, much as there is not only one way to do your job, or anyone else’s for that matter.

Must Take This Amount of Time

That second most common assumption I encourage you to challenge is that this project, this initiative this action, this job, this position, or this task, must take this long and there’s a time clock on it and it must take this long, or must be done in a certain period of time. I would ask you to challenge that one, as well. I’m told the fastest man on the planet, whom I’ve recently learned actually lives, at least a portion of the year, in my area, might beg to differ. The fastest man on the planet, Mr. Bolt, I kid you not, this is his last name, Bolt, has 19 Guinness World Records and a Wikipedia page the length of my arm that talks about all of his accomplishments in the area of speed and running. His opponents thought the hundred-yard dash, the 200 meter race, for example, should take this long. Who in your office is telling you that your project must take that long or must only be done in this designated period of time? Who is filling your head and telling you this time is definitive? Challenge those assumptions, too and then let’s look at this larger idea of assumption that I’ve simply categorized as people.

Assumptions About People

Pretty much any assumption you make about people is subject to interpretation and worth your re-consideration. If you assume your boss doesn’t like you, well, have you thought about asking him or her that question? If you assume that an employee you just hired, who repeatedly doesn’t perform in the way you wish they would, can’t do the job you’re asking, have you asked him or her that question? Typically, we assume because it’s easier to make an internal decision than it is to reach out and perhaps vulnerably, or with fear of being judged for asking, ask a difficult question. People are complex beings and you know this isn’t new news or revolutionary information. Yet, we make assumptions daily, moment by moment and every hour, about people in our environment. If you find you’re making assumptions about people and their potential, people and their capacity, people and their competence, people and their opinions, and/or people and their feelings, reconsider the efficacy, accuracy, and definitive nature of your assumptions. Because when leaders maintain, withhold, and marry themselves to false assumptions they then start acting on inaccurate information, and the actions and tasks that then begin to build momentum are based on a very, very shaky foundation.

I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment.

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Monica Wofford, CSP is a celebrated leader who develops future leaders. CEO of Contagious Companies, her firm delivers and designs leadership training for managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared, and the leaders who promoted them. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica and members of the Contagious team may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.

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