I recently flew on an airplane. Normally, that’s no big deal. But in the year 2020 things are different!
This photo is me on the E Concourse at O’Hare International Airport – one of the busiest in the world. I’ve flown one other time during the pandemic and purposely avoided O’Hare because I assumed it’d be too crowded for my comfort level. Suffice to say, my assumption wasn’t close to accurate.
We often walk into situations where we assume what is going to happen. We have an idea in our mind of how things are supposed to be. Due to COVID-19, we are seeing things from a new perspective, and our assumptions are often wrong. We don’t personally have past experience of a pandemic, so we can’t use our experiences to base our thoughts and/or behaviors.
But perspectives and assumptions aren’t just present in global pandemics.
The power of perspective
In the workplace or in any team environment, people come to the group with their unique perspective regarding any issue, challenge or project. Whether working in a group of two or twenty two, as each individual brings their own viewpoint (and hidden assumptions), the stage is set for interpersonal conflict, lack of clarity, and team dysfunction.
The more team members believe that only their perspective is “right,” the more dysfunction there is. Conversely, if all perspectives are considered, and a shared decision is made, the team will function more collaboratively and with greater commitment, driving stronger outcomes.
While coaching leaders, I find it intriguing when they realize their strongly held viewpoint is just one perspective, not the only perspective. The truth is, no single perspective is absolutely true on any issue. There are always multiple perspectives that can be true or hold elements of the truth.
It’s helpful to not only be aware of the perspective and assumptions that you bring to a situation, but also be curious and open to the perspective of others. Everyone appreciates their thoughts and ideas being considered, whether or not they are adopted in part or whole. Shutting down the perspective of others, essentially shuts down the team and ultimately threatens performance over time.
Recognizing your perspective
So, as a leader, how does your perspective impact your decisions? Engage your core and get aware of your choice.
- Pause – Take a moment to recognize your assumptions.
- Think – How are your past experiences influencing you? What are the perspectives of others?
- Act – Take the steps that will allow you to proceed thoughtfully, not based on assumptions.
Based on your perspectives, some of you may be asking why in the world I was traveling during this time. Well, motivation is often what drives action. My motivation was to see my new grandson, Owen (and the rest of the family).
My new perspective of “Grandma” is one that I look forward to exploring!
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