When decisions are taken based on an incomplete picture of the team, those gaps in knowledge are often filled in by assumptions. Assumptions are risky and can often be detrimental.
Problems arise when someone responds to a situation in the absence of sufficient knowledge, particularly when emotions are heightened. When you assume, you impart your perspective, motivations, and values on a situation. If you are not careful, you can distort your perception of reality, which can lead to irrational decisions. A strong leader can be distinguished from an inept one by their relative ignorance, and we can become more informed before making a decision. Effective leaders use facts, outside opinions, and empathy to overcome their biases and achieve outcomes better designed to succeed. As a leader, you are expected to be an effective communicator. That means you must better listen and seek to understand to make more objective and less subjective decisions. Assumptions can also bring down the productivity of your team as there would be conflicts which you would not be able to resolve.
Some of the dangers of Assumptions are as below:
1- They stop you from taking responsibility for your life, as you hide behind your version of the story. You don’t even own up your part, as you prefer to blame others for your team’s misfortune.
2 – It is lazy behavior, as instead of asking questions to get correct information, you jump to conclusions. Thus it fosters a negative mindset that reinforces your innate negativity bias and creates a hostile team atmosphere.
3- Assumptions also negatively affect our relationships in several important ways. We subconsciously make assumptions and judgments about other people’s behavior, other people’s intentions behind their behavior, and our behavior and intentions.
Some of the ways you can challenge assumptions are as follows:
1- Ask rather than assume. Instead of basing your decisions on what you think you know, ask questions to get more information and clarification.
2- Instead of reacting, you can respond. You should not act immediately, triggered by someone’s comments. You should pause and notice your reaction, take a deep breath and wait for your initial emotion to dissipate. Once you’ve done that, you may find that the statement that triggered you wasn’t intended to be harsh.
3- Decide to see positive intentions. People may have different goals from yours, but they usually come from good intentions. They are not always out to get you. If you aren’t sure about their intentions, ask them. If you are determined to make an assumption, it is better to assume the positive.
4- Empower and equip everyone. If you want to avoid conflict, everyone involved must have a shared understanding of the situation. Shift from expectation to shared understanding.
This can also be overcome through proper training. Communication is a big factor in avoiding assumptions. With the Conversational Capacity® training program, engage in learning-focused dialogue when challenging topics or conflicts arise. This way, assumptions are replaced by certainties and you ensure proper goal execution.
Conclusion: We have discussed the ill-effects of assumption and how it can be avoided, which will make you a great leader, spreading positivity in your team and increasing its productivity.