Making the right decision can often be complicated or distorted by our unique perspective, experiences, assumptions and beliefs.
“We think we see the world as it is, when in fact we see the world as we are.” ~ Steven Covey
Steven Covey’s statement has significant implications for leaders. Do we really see the world as it is? And if we have a distorted world view, how can we make decisions that are critical for our organizations to thrive in the real world that is increasingly more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous?
Jennifer Garvey Berger in her book, “Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps”, addresses this very issue. According to Jennifer, we tend to believe what we see. We all see the world differently from our own unique perspectives which are created by our past experiences, assumptions, and beliefs that we have brought forward to create our current mental image of the world.
The problem is that we can become overly invested in our own perspective, and in doing so, we block out opposing views while seeking confirmation of our “rightness”.
According to Jennifer Berger, “When leaders believe they are right in a complex world, they become dangerous, because they ignore data that would show them they are wrong; they don’t listen well to those around them; they get trapped in a world they have created rather the one that exists.”
Coaches and consultants often address this very real issue by recommending that clients form an advisory group made up of staff, colleagues, patients, and other trusted advisors. The very reason for having an advisory group is to prevent the dangers of “Rightness” and its associated problems. They understand that in our current complex world, clients need diversity of thought and experience to see the world from different perspectives.
Furthermore, a sense of rightness creates reactive tendencies which lead to subconscious actions or beliefs that block our ability to receive contradictory information or suggestions. These reactive tendencies need to be recognized and addressed if we are to lead and navigate the increasing complexity of our environment.
Assessments like the Leadership Circle Profile 360 (LCP 360) are helpful resources for identifying these reactive tendencies. Coaches (Line of Sight Coaching included) utilize the results of this assessment to develop leadership development plans that move clients from a reactive mindset to a more useful and productive creative mindset.
Reducing reactive tendencies opens the door for doctors to receive productive feedback so they can make better-informed decisions based on the power of multiple perspectives.
In summary, it is as important to understand “how” we think as it is to understand “what” we think. There are other mental blocks that create a false sense of security and rightness that are harmful to leaders and their organizations. Understanding our own blind spots is critical in overcoming these self-limiting mental blocks so that we can be the best leaders possible.
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Dr. Joel Small and Dr. Edwin McDonald, the founders of Line of Sight Coaching, are dental practitioners, authors, speakers and Business Leadership Coaches who work with healthcare professionals to help them build more successful practices so they can live the balanced life they seek.