Assumptions Limit Leaders’ Ability to Influence Positive Results

“Too often, we allow assumptions to get in our way. The truth is, we can stop them but usually don’t!” Jeannette Seibly

Leaders often take the tiniest bits of information and make various assumptions. The problem? It lacks accurate, objective data. These assumptions cause a lot of mischief, brouhaha, and negativity in the workplace. Also, these assumptions influence the ability to work with and through the team to achieve intended results. Sadly, once they occur, they are often irreversible.

The truth … we are often wrong about our assumptions. Yet we use them to justify how we treat people and view situations. And as a current or future leader, these assumptions can sideline your career.

With his boss’s support, a young man presented at his company’s board meeting. The presentation went well. The problem occurred when a board member said, “S*#T.” So, the young man mimicked him, believing it made him sound business-like. Based on this one utterance, the board assumed he didn’t have the career maturity or potential they had hoped for. His career was sidelined and he was never told why!

These types of issues occur too frequently when we rely on our assumptions. Here are some ways to avoid this career trap and cause your results to improve dramatically.

Seven Tips to Reduce Assumptions and Improve Results

  1. Check the facts. Read more than the salacious headlines from news media by deep diving and researching for the truth. In addition, ask for guidance from mentors and/or your executive coach.
  2. Embrace listening and curiosity. Leaders that listen objectively, ask good questions, and engage others in conversations are more successful. Why? People feel honored to be asked, heard, and valued! It reduces assumptions and creates new possibilities.
  3. Stop making things mean so much. When you overreact, you lose objectivity for people, situations, and things. Just because someone didn’t smile at you or return your “good morning” greeting doesn’t mean they are upset with you. Stop. Ask, “How are you today?” Then, listen. Often, their reaction had nothing to do with you!
  4. Stop invalidating people for the risks they take. Example, a condo owner listed his home $50K above market. His neighbors assumed that he was taking an unnecessary risk and that it would not sell! But when his condo sold at $20K above-market a month later, his neighbors increased the equity in their homes! (You’re welcome!) This is an example of a win-win-win! Where have you listened to someone who invalidated you and/or your risk based on poorly informed assumptions?
  5. Learn how to negotiate. It’s good to negotiate a price when buying certain items. Some businesses will allow these types of transactions, while many will not. Remember, the critical factor in making it a win-win-win process is setting aside your assumptions (e.g., they won’t give me what I want). Keys: Do not become emotionally attached to your position, price, or how it should work! This ensures a rewarding outcome for both parties.
  6. Develop emotional intelligence. Stop making everything about you. If others can easily trigger you, work with a therapist to become more astute as a leader. If you’re black and white in your thinking, learn how to include the human factor in your decisions.
  7. Stop inferring or making assumptions about people’s personalities. This is true when hiring, coaching, and managing people. For example, we infer that if a person didn’t bring a pen to a job interview, they don’t come prepared to meetings! Or when a person makes a mistake, they are in the wrong job. Nonsense! Get real! Use qualified job-fit assessments to discover a person’s true job fit traits and how to coach them for success.

©Jeannette Seibly 2022 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has guided the creation of three millionaires and countless 6-figure income professionals. During the past 29 years, she has become an award-winning international executive and family business management consultant, and keynote speaker. Still unable to achieve the results you need to keep your customers, team, or job? Don’t wait! It won’t get better without help! Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note from Jeannette about making assumptions. We’ve all heard the saying, “Assuming makes an ass out of you and me.” The problem is, we still do it way too often! This trap hurts our relationships, results, and ability to keep great talent and customers! Do you need help overcoming this insidious habit and mindset? Contact me for a confidential conversation.

Overcome your assumptions during the hiring and selection process. It’ll increase your retention, revenues, and results! To improve your interviewing techniques, grab your FREE copy of 16 Tips to Conduct Effective and Productive Hiring Interviews Today.

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