Leadership Assumptions That Damage Tomorrow

Leadership Assumptions: The Damage You Don’t See Today

Leadership assumptions may seem like a harmless blip that you can easily fix. Yet the effect of leadership assumptions is far more damaging than you think.

Leadership Assumptions: Image is shadows of window blinds.

Leadership Assumptions: Story of Truly Damaging Power

Image by Robert Dean via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Leadership Assumptions: The Damage You Don’t Foresee

You can shift your leadership assumptions as you see what trouble they created. Yet leadership assumptions about people can leave irreversible damage. Here are three case studies to illustrate.

Story #1

A manager of a group home for troubled teens got promoted to the top leadership spot after working there for many years. She then told the nurse on staff not to call 911 when the teens had medical emergencies because all teens fake it to get attention. After trying to change the leader’s mind, the nurse resigned because she saw the directive as unethical and dangerous. She cared for the teens and also didn’t want to lose her nursing license. P.S. The leader gave directives to other managers who sequentially resigned.

When your leadership assumptions disrespect the professional talent on the team, you destroy morale & the organization.

Story #2

A hospital volunteer director came out to the reception desk. She asked the volunteers what they thought of the new sign in procedure she created. As one high energy volunteer described one challenge they all had, the director reacted badly. She told the volunteer, “Clearly, you are agitated so I will finish your shift.” The volunteer declined and said she would finish her shift. When she got home, she sent the director an email saying: “My schedule has changed and I will no longer be available to volunteer.” The volunteer was highly insulted by the director’s accusation and directive.

When your leadership assumptions drive you to wrongly accuse staff, they lose respect for you and may leave.

Leadership Assumptions: Story #3

On my first job after college — as a computer programmer trainee — I was working very hard to learn programming. The company didn’t really have a training program. They simply had program exercises and one manager was assigned to supervise the four of us trainees. One day he came into the shared work space with everyone around and yelled at me: “You’re only doing things to get them done not to learn!” He was quite wrong.

Our work styles were different. His work style was slow, analytic, and systematic. Mine was faster, driving, and focused on results. He was analytic personality type and assumed that I should be like him. This “be like me” assumption demeans individuality and can drive talent away.

I lost respect for his critical thinking abilities and for him. The leader removed him from overseeing training. When I graduated from trainee to programmer analyst, they gave me the role of supervising new trainees.

Leadership Assumptions: Key Takeaway

When your blind spots drive your leadership assumptions, you may inflict scars that are hard to remove. As a result, employee engagement, morale, and performance suffer. Question your assumptions before you act!

Here’s a: Simple Technique to Question Your Assumptions!

How do you prevent assumptions from derailing you?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
The 13 Most Absurd Assumptions & Debates Between Introverts & Extroverts

©2016-2022 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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